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Eur J Public Health. 2001 Jun;11(2):185-9.

A comparison of high-risk sexual behaviour and HIV testing amongst a bar-going sample of homosexual men in London and Edinburgh.

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Department of STD's, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Mortimer Market, London WC1E 6AU, United Kingdom.



This study compared high-risk sexual and HIV testing behaviour amongst homosexual men recruited from gay bars in London and Edinburgh.


A cross-sectional survey monitoring high-risk sexual and HIV testing behaviour using a self-completed questionnaire was conducted in November and December 1996.


Two thousand, three hundred and ninety-seven questionnaires were returned (1,366 recruited in London and 1,031 in Edinburgh), with a response rate of 77%. A larger proportion of men surveyed in London had had unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with one or more male partners in the previous year (35%) than in Edinburgh (30%). Men recruited in Edinburgh were less likely to have had an HIV test (54%) than men in London (63%). In both surveys, 25% of men who reported UAI with partners of the same HIV status as themselves also reported never having had an HIV test.


The observed dissimilarities in the HIV epidemic in the two cities may be accounted for by the differences in self-reported high-risk sexual and HIV testing behaviours between the two populations. A large proportion of men in both cities continue to engage in high-risk sexual behaviour suggesting continued transmission of HIV in these populations. Thus, there is a continued need for innovative and relevant health promotion amongst homosexual men in the UK.

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