Young Gay Men and HIV/AIDS: Towards a contextual understanding of sexual risk
Recent research in the USA, some European countries and Australia points to an increase in rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections amongst young gay men. Urgent action needs to be taken to meet the health promotion needs of those who are most vulnerable. HIV/AIDS awareness and sexual health promotion strategies aimed at young gay men have frequently focused on problems and needs. In contrast, the strengths and capacities of young gay men have largely been ignored. With these issues in mind, the research described here sought to explore the HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention needs of young gay men within the context of the other issues in their lives. As part of a larger research project focusing on gay and bisexual men's HIV primary prevention needs, data was collected from 77 self identified gay and bisexual men under the age of 25 living in the Greater London area. Through a participatory workshop format, both written and oral accounts were generated. Data were analysed thematically so as to identify recurrent issues and concerns. Findings illustrate the strengths of young gay men in coping with a range of challenging life and relationship issues, including those related to HIV. The capacity of young gay men to identify their own sexual health education needs is emphasised and processes through which such stated needs may be incorporated into HIV prevention and sexual health promotion strategies are discussed.
Warwick, I.; Douglas, N.; Aggleton, P.; Boyce, P. Young Gay Men and HIV/AIDS: Towards a contextual understanding of sexual risk. Sex Education (2003) 3 (3) 215-229. [DOI: 10.1080/1468181032000119104]