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AIDS. 1997 Sep;11 Suppl 1:S53-9.

The correlates of safer behavior among homosexually active men in Lima.

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Institute of Population Studies, Cayetano Heredia University, Lima, Peru.



To describe sexual behavior patterns and identify psychosocial and situational correlates of safer practices among men who have sex with other men in Lima.


A cross-sectional survey.


In 1992, 223 mostly young, working- and middle-class homosexually active men in Lima, who reported either being seronegative or not knowing their HIV status, were recruited from public places, gay organizations and through snowballing techniques. Measurements included patterns of sexual behavior and socialization with other homosexually active men, and psychosocial and situational factors. Three risk behavior indicators were used: the practice of unprotected receptive anal intercourse, the practice of unprotected anal intercourse (insertive or receptive) and an index of behavioral risk based on numbers of sexual partners for different risk practices.


The subjects (mean age 24.9 years, SD 6.3) were mostly exclusively homosexual (74%) and self-identified as gay/homosexual (73%); 41% had had unprotected anal intercourse during the last 4 months (75% of them in the receptive role). Reporting sex in public places consistently predicted riskier behavior by any of the three indices, whereas a lower perception of benefits of condoms/safer sex, poor AIDS knowledge, participation in a steady relationship and higher self-efficacy were associated with one or two of the indices.


Besides considering basic AIDS information and the promotion of condoms and safer sex, intervention programs for homosexually active men in Lima should emphasize the need for open discussions on safety in steady relationships, promote accurate perceptions of personal risk and sensitively address the special difficulties posed by sexual activity in public places.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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