Determinants of High Risk Sexual Behavior
The Advocate Study of Gay Men
AIDS has become a ubiquitous disease of catastrophic proportions. In this 'sex study' included as part of the Advocate magazine in 1994, attitudes and sexual activities of 13,000 gay men nationwide were surveyed. A set of research hypotheses were made, these were: that there would be a relationship between various sociodemographic, intepersonal and relational, substance use, sexual, experiential, and health care variables and high-risk sexual behavior. Some of these hypotheses were confirmed, while others were not. The particular value of this study is that it was nationwide, contained large numbers of participants and large numbers of variables, included all sizes of metropolitan areas, and specifically defined high-risk sexual activity.
While many of the results confirm previous studies, the constellation and clustering of results perhaps points to issues larger than HIV and high-risk sexual behaviors alone, issues that are fundamentally societal. It is hoped that basic societal changes in attitudes towards gay men and women will reduce the isolation, loneliness, and feelings of being different that may well underlie the high rates of drug use and the meaning of the nature of sexual activity that is often present in gay community. It is at this fundamental societal level that progress against AIDS will need to proceed.