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Swiss study examines which years gay men decided to stop consistent condom use
Gus Cairns, 2017-11-04 07:40:00

An innovative study presented at the 16th European AIDS conference in Milan two weeks ago used a machine-learning algorithm (originally developed to help astronomers classify galaxies) to tease out whether there were specific groups of gay men within a large national cohort whose sexual risk behaviours followed similar trajectories over time, and if so, whether they were influenced by external factors such as new scientific data.

The analysis of gay men from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study by Luisa Salazar-Vizcaya from the University of Bonn in Germany found that an apparently steady and homogeneous increase in the proportion of men who reported ever having had condomless anal sex with non-steady partners (nsCAI) between 2000 and 2016 was in fact due to quite sudden changes in behaviour in three specific groups of gay men who between them numbered less than half of the men in the study. What distinguished the three groups was that their decision to drop 100% condom use with non-steady partners happened at three different time periods.