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AIDS Behav. 2007 Jan;11(1):123-9.

Prevalence of treatment optimism-related risk behavior and associated factors among men who have sex with men in 11 states, 2000-2001.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS E-46, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


Sustainable behavior change among men who have sex with men (MSM) may be threatened by optimistic beliefs about HIV treatments: treatment optimism has been associated with high risk sexual behaviors. We used data from behavioral surveys of MSM attending gay bars in 11 states from 2000-2001 to describe the prevalence and correlates of being less careful with sex or drugs because of treatment optimism (optimism-related risk behavior). Fifteen percent of 1477 HIV-negative or -untested MSM reported optimism-related risk behavior. Optimism-related risk behavior was reported more often by Black and Hispanic MSM (versus white), more often by MSM with a high school education or less (versus college), and less often by MSM in some states. HIV prevention programs should address treatment optimism and related behavioral risks by providing culturally appropriate information, accessible to MSM with lower educational attainment, about the limitations of current therapies.

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