CHEST Study Looks at HIV Risks at Gay Sex Parties

Published: December 12, 2013

Men who attend sex parties are at a greater risk of HIV and STI transmission, found a recent survey at the Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST). Dr. Christian Grov and his team used an online survey titled "Characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) who attend sex parties: results from a national online sample in the USA" to reach more than two thousand MSM nationwide, in 49 of the 50 states.

 
According to the data collected, about 45 percent of the men surveyed had attended a sex party within the past year, 23 percent had been to a sex party more than a year ago and 31 percent had never been to a sex party in their lifetime. The men were divided into these three groups for further analysis of their survey responses.
 
CHEST’s researchers found that men who attended sex parties in the last year were at greater risk of HIV and STI transmission than the other groups of men. For instance, men who had attended a sex party in the last year were significantly more likely to have engaged in unprotected anal intercourse in the last 90 days. Men who had attended sex parties in the last year also reported a higher number of recent male sex partners, and higher numbers of anal sex encounters than the other men surveyed. 
 
"One caveat is that we do not know the exact behaviors men engaged in at sex parties, but our data do tell us that men who attend sex parties are more likely to engage in behaviors that can contribute to the onward transmission of HIV and STIs," said Grov.
 
Grov told EDGE that the NYC Dept. of Health did not identify sex parties as a potential transmission source from the meningitis scare this past summer. But he warned that sex parties offer individuals an opportunity to be sexually intimate with multiple individuals over the course of a very short period of time, increasing the risk of other infections.
 
"I imagine things like the flu and other easily transmissible pathogenies (e.g., common cold) could easily be passed if introduced into this environment," said Grov. "Were someone with meningitis to attend a sex party, the results could be devastating." 
 
He encouraged all MSM who are sexually active to get vaccinated for Hep A, Hep B, the flu and meningitis, especially those who attend sex parties. 
 
"I would encourage these men to routinely test for HIV (if HIV-negative or they do not know their status) and get checked for other sexually transmitted infections," said Grov, noting the success this summer of distributing meningitis vaccines at sex parties in New York, as reported in an earlier EDGE article.

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