Kippax, S, Noble, J., Prestage, G., Crawford, J., Campbell, D., Baxter, D. and Cooper, D.
Sexual negotiation in the AIDS era: negotiated safety revisited
AIDS, 11, (2), .
Objective: To test the safety of the 'negotiated safety' strategy - the strategy of dispensing with condoms within HIV-seronegative concordant regular sexual relationships under certain conditions. Method: Data from a recently recruited cohort of homosexually active men (Sydney Men and Sexual Health cohort, n = 1037) are used to revisit negotiated safety. The men were surveyed using a structured questionnaire and questions addressing their sexual relationships and practice, their own and their regular partner's serostatus, agreements entered into by the men concerning sexual practice within and outside their regular relationship, and contextual and demographic variables. Results: The findings indicate that a significant number of men used negotiated safety as an HIV prevention strategy. In the 6 months prior to interview, of the 181 men in seroconcordant HIV-negative regular relationships, 62% had engaged in unprotected anal intercourse within their relationship, and 91% (165 men) had not engaged in unprotected anal intercourse outside their relationship. Of these 165 men, 82% had negotiated agreements about sex outside their relationship. The safety of negotiation was dependent not only on seroconcordance but also on the presence of an agreement; 82% of the men who had not engaged in unprotected anal intercourse outside their regular relationship had entered into an agreement with their partner, whereas only 56% of those who had engaged in unprotected anal intercourse had an agreement. The safety of negotiation was also related to the nature of the safety agreement reached between the men and on the acceptability of condoms. Agreements between HIV-negative seroconcordant regular partners prohibiting anal intercourse with casual partners or any form of sex with a casual partner were typically complied with, and men who had such negotiated agreements were at low risk of HIV infection. Conclusions: The adoption of the strategy of negotiated safety among men in HIV-seronegative regular relationships may help such men sustain the safety of their sexual practice.
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