Survey lays bare the sex life of gay men

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NTANDO MAKHUBU

THE PRE­FERRED iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of men who slept with other men (MSM) is gay. Some de­scribe them­selves as bi­sex­ual, a smaller group say they are straight while an even smaller num­ber pre­fer to be seen as trans­gen­der.

More than half of 925 men from Joburg, Cape Town and Dur­ban tak­ing part in a Hu­man Sciences Re­search Coun­cil (HSRC) study ad­mit­ted to hav­ing had sex with three or more part­ners within six months of the survey.

About 20 per­cent of Joburg MSM, 12 per­cent in Cape Town and 23.5 per­cent in Dur­ban said they had no male part­ner in the six-month pe­riod. Far fewer said they had been with one part­ner dur­ing the pe­riod– 13 per­cent of them from Cape Town, 10 per­cent from Dur­ban and 15.4 per­cent from Joburg.

When asked about reg­u­lar male and fe­male sex­ual part­ners, many par­tic­i­pants from Dur­ban and Cape Town said they had not had sex with women in the pre­vi­ous six months.

While more than 90 per­cent from Dur­ban and 74 per­cent from Cape Town had not been with a woman, 43 per­cent of Joburg par­tic­i­pants said they had en­gaged in sex­ual re­la­tions with women and 63 per­cent of them had had reg­u­lar male part­ners.

Slightly less than 10 per­cent of the Capeto­ni­ans said they had had no reg­u­lar fe­male part­ner, which was more than the 4 per­cent and 5 per­cent from Dur­ban and Joburg.

The men were also asked about their par­tic­i­pa­tion in vagi­nal sex, con­dom use and if they had had any trans­ac­tional sex within the six months lead­ing up to the survey, in the two-year study called Marang Men’s Project.

The project re­port was launched yes­ter­day, and it was aimed at un­cov­er­ing the be­hav­iour of the MSM com­mu­nity and their HIV risk fac­tor.

Re­searchers said they had found them at higher risk of HIV in­fec­tions. “Un­pro­tected anal in­ter­course (bare­back­ing) puts MSM at in­creased risk for HIV in­fec­tion, and it is en­cour­ag­ing that con­dom use with a male part­ner was found to be more than 80 per­cent,” project co-or­di­na­tor Al­lanise Cloete said.

Rec­om­men­da­tions from the HSRC in­cluded the es­tab­lish­ment of a na­tional com­bi­na­tion HIV preven­tion pro­gramme for MSM.

It’s en­cour­ag­ing that con­dom use was at least 80%

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