Study shows risky sex more likely in young men with HIV

Scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health recently conducted a study that shows young men who have detectable HIV are much more likely to engage in risky sexual acts than young men who have attained virological suppression.

The young men in the study included men who have sex with men. The ones with HIV that was detectable were significantly more likely to engage in anal intercourse without a condom while with a partner who does not have HIV.

"While many of these young men are engaged in care, and success stories are many, we still have work to do to reduce the rate of new infections," Patrick Wilson, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School and leader of the study, said.

Men who have sex with men are the most likely population to contract HIV infections, especially when they are between 13 and 29 years old. This population and age group comprise over one-quarter of yearly new HIV infections within the U.S.

"To truly curb HIV among this group, we cannot solely rely on one strategy," Wilson said. "These findings speak to the need for targeting substance use and mental health concerns -- factors related to viral suppression and sexual risk taking."

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