CROI 2007; Los Angeles, Calif.; February 25-28, 2007

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The Body PRO Covers: The 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

Lifetime Risk of HIV and Death From AIDS Among MSM in King County, Washington

An Interview With Matthew Golden, M.D., M.P.H.

February 26, 2007

Listen (1.5MB MP3, 3.5 min.)
At this year's CROI, Dr. Matt Golden took the time to discuss his research with The Body's Editorial Director, Bonnie Goldman. Dr. Golden is director of the sexually transmitted disease Control Program in King County, Washington, and he is on the faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle. The title of his poster was the "Lifetime Risk of HIV and HIV-associated Mortality Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in King County, Washington."

Matthew Golden, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
[In this study], we used life tables to estimate the lifetime risk of acquiring HIV among men who have sex with men in King County, Washington, looking at successive birth cohorts. Overall, we estimated that 14 percent of gay men in King County were HIV infected. What one observes is that with successive birth cohorts, the risk of acquiring HIV increased, so that the risk of acquiring HIV plateaus at a little under 20 percent in men born between 1942 and 1946. Whereas in men who were born between 1957 and 1961, by the time they are in their early 40s, over 35 percent are HIV infected.

The one bright spot is that, in the most recent birth cohorts -- that is, those people born since 1967 -- the age-specific risk of acquiring HIV is lower, though still high. Those are the principal findings of this study.

Why do you think that people born since 1967 acquired HIV at a lower rate? Do you attribute this to more prevention education?

I think people did change their behavior. You're seeing the highest [HIV] risk in people who were in their teens and early twenties in the early and mid-1980s. So people who are coming of age, from a sexual standpoint, more in the mid-1990s, late 1990s, probably are safer overall.

All these statistics pertain to men who have sex with men (MSM)?

This is all MSM. Now, the one limitation is that these are data from [only] King County, Washington. Whether these same estimates would be true in other places, it's hard to know. But the overall prevalence of HIV, or the estimated prevalence of HIV, in men who have sex with men in King County is not radically different from that in other major urban parts of the United States.

Did you find anything unexpected?

The fact that we had a lower age-specific prevalence in the younger cohorts I had not anticipated -- which is a good thing. That's the one bright spot.

No one thinks that HIV prevention is working.

I think people are very cynical. Look, we need to do a lot better [in our prevention efforts]. On the other hand, I think probably the age-specific risk is lower for people who were born more recently than it was for people who were born in the mid-1960s.

What do you think made the big difference between the older groups and the youngest group?

I think condom use. I think a lot of things have changed, in terms of sexual norms, between people who were 20 years old in 1985 and people who are 20 in 1995, or 2005.

Was this broken down by race?

No. We wouldn't have had sufficient numbers to really look at race specific data.

To view this study abstract, click here.

This article was provided by TheBodyPRO. It is a part of the publication Exclusive Coverage of the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.
See Also
Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS and Young Men Who Have Sex With Men

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