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26 October 2007
Older Black Men Eschew Condoms
by George Atkinson

Up to 40 percent of HIV-positive African-American men could be putting their partners at risk by not using condoms, says a recent study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. The researchers, from the University of Pennsylvania, said that many of the 40-65 year-olds were engaging in high-risk sexual practices, with 38 percent not using condoms during oral sex, 25 percent having unprotected vaginal sex and 22 percent having unsafe anal sex.

"Despite the worrying number of men not using condoms, 78 percent of those who took part in the study were able to answer questions about HIV and AIDS correctly and 25 percent claimed to be knowledgeable about the subject - but still engaged in risky sex," said researcher Christopher Lance Coleman. "These findings are of particular concern as HIV and AIDS rates among black men in the USA and in people over 50 have risen considerably in recent years. In fact, AIDS prevalence statistics for minority men in the USA are staggering." Doctor Coleman cited:

  • In 2005, 128 per 100,000 cases of HIV/AIDS were African-American men compared to 18 for white men. The US CDC suggests that this ethnic group is eight times as likely to develop AIDS as white males.
  • Figures for 2005 also show that 44 percent of all new cases of HIV were black (non-Hispanic) males, based on the latest data from 50 US states.
  • AIDS rates are also rising in people over 50. In 2006, 27 percent of adults living with AIDS in the USA were over 50.

"While we think that our findings are compelling, it would be unwise to conclude that - as with any study - they are representative of all older African-American men who are HIV positive," stresses Dr Coleman. "However, the findings of this study are worrying, particularly in view of rising HIV and AIDS rates in both ethnic communities and the over 50s. They definitely point to the need for further research into why older African-American men with HIV don't use condoms."

The researchers hope that their findings will add to the ongoing debate about safe sex and condom use and highlight the need for more initiatives to be developed for older African-American men. "Health promotion messages have traditionally been targeted at young people," said Dr Coleman. "But the increased prevalence of older ethnic males with HIV and AIDS makes it essential for health professionals to promote safe sex and increase condom use to this target audience."

Related articles:
Male Infidelity Hinders HIV Prevention Efforts
Safe-Sex Fatigue Evident In UK
HIV And Circumcision
AIDS Prevention Campaigns Based On Fear Ineffective

Source: Journal of Advanced Nursing

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