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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Risk behaviour among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men: comparisons with other gay men in Australia

Chris G. Lawrence A C , Patrick Rawstorne B , Peter Hull B , Andrew E. Grulich A , Scott Cameron C and Garrett P. Prestage A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia.

B National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia.

C National Centre in Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: gprestage@nchecr.unsw.edu.au

Sexual Health 3(3) 163-167 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH05053
Submitted: 11 October 2005  Accepted: 16 June 2006   Published: 29 August 2006

Abstract

Objectives: To determine any differences in HIV-risk and drug-use behaviour among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men and other gay men in Australia. Methods: The Gay Community Periodic Survey is a repeated cross-sectional prevalence study of the sexual and drug use behaviours of Australian gay men conducted since 1996. Responses from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) gay men were compared with those from non-ATSI gay men for the years 2000–2004. Results: Of 34 708 responses collected in major Australian cities over a 6-year period, 1208 identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. There was little difference between ATSI and non-ATSI men in the reported prevalence of HIV, though ATSI gay men were more likely than non-ATSI gay men to engage in unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners and to inject illicit drugs but were more likely to have been recently tested for HIV. Conclusions: These ATSI gay men were at increased risk of HIV and other blood-borne viruses, though this may be due to differences in socio-economic status as much as cultural background. These findings indicate the continued need for targeted sexual and injecting-drug-use health interventions among this population.

Additional keywords: injecting drug use, sexual behaviour, unprotected anal intercourse.


Acknowledgements

The authors thank the respective state AIDS Councils and PLWHA organisations for collaboration with the project, and the men who have participated in the Periodic Surveys in each state. The National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and the National Centre in HIV Social Research, are funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.


Sponsorship: this study was supported by the Health Departments in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory.


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