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Inappropriate lubricant use with condoms by homosexual men.
  • Published Date:
    1992 Jul-Aug
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 107(4):468-473
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-1.21 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
  • Personal Author:
  • Description:
    Use of condoms has been advocated as an important method of reducing the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission among high-risk groups such as homosexual and bisexual men, prostitutes, intravenous drug users, adolescents, and hemophiliacs. Despite risk-reduction education campaigns directed to gay men since the early 1980s, evidence shows continued deficits in condom-use skills and knowledge among gay men. Because most failures in the use of condoms are attributed to errors in use, increasing knowledge and skills in condom use is important in preventing HIV infection. Two groups of homosexual and bisexual men were sampled, those entering a risk-reduction education program and participants in a Gay Pride event. They were surveyed on their current sex practices and their efforts to reduce their risk of HIV infection. They were asked about their numbers of sex partners, specific sexual behaviors, use of condoms, types of condoms used, and lubricants used for genital-anal sex. The characteristics of those surveyed were similar to those of respondents in other studies of risk reduction among gay men. The use of an oil-based lubricant with condoms has been shown to weaken latex and to increase the likelihood of condom breakage, which use of water-based lubricants does not. Among respondents who reported having genital-anal sex, 60 percent reported use of an oil-based lubricant with a condom at least once during the year before the survey. Gay men in sexually exclusive relationships engaged in less consistent use of condoms for receptive genital-anal sex than did single gay men. The duration of their relationship with a partner was unrelated to the consistency of risk reducing behaviors practiced by men in sexually exclusive relationships. Gay Pride participants engaged in sexual behavior that was relatively more risky for HIV transmission than did the other group. Gay Pride participants used condoms less consistently for genital-anal sex than did the risk-reduction program entrants.The findings indicate the need for better risk reduction education efforts directed to gay men. Continued improvement in these efforts will require assessing the effectiveness and consistency of risk reduction efforts, determining the potential for gay men to relapse into more risky behavior, and identifying gaps in the knowledge of risk-reduction efforts among gay and bisexual men. Risk reduction programs need to emphasize motivational factors, provide basic information on how one determines the content of lubricants, explain why water-based lubricants only should be used, and teach how to use condoms properly. Active outreach is needed to gay and bisexual men who are unlikely to voluntarily enroll in risk-reduction programs.

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