HIV rates soar among young gays

More, younger gay men are being diagnosed with HIV than ever before.  The number of men in the  20-29 age group being infected is likely to double 2007 levels by the end of this year.  Already, in the first quarter of the year, 21 men have been infected  in Victoria, just half of the number infected, 43, from two years ago.  Last  year the number infected was 56.  In the past, the group with the most new cases of HIV has been the 30-39 age group, but in just the first quarter, the 20-29 age group has 2 more new cases than the 30-39 age group.

This may suggest that Victoria’s safe-sex campaigns may not be succeeding.  It has been suggested that the State Government has waited too long to respond to growing infection rates, and also that it should invest more money in prevention programs.  Researchers in the field are concerned because this is the  first time in a very long  time that they have seen the 20-29 age group show an increase in infection rate.

Some people think that this recent surge is due to advertisements not sending the right message.  The advertisements were developed using explicit imagery for pornographic videos, but it did not encourage condom use among gays men.  Although the advertisements used explicit imagery, many gay men feel that their sexuality is about who they fall in love with and not about the fact that they have sex with men.  This means that more gay men were having unprotected sex, which means that the ad campaigns were  not fulfilling their purpose.

This may indicate that the need for testing is higher, as  there is a higher rate of HIV infection among young gay men.  Testing for HIV is a necessary component to everybody’s sexual health and well-being.

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