Patrick Craine


Study: 18% of Vancouver gay men have HIV

Patrick Craine

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, November 25, 2010 ( - The authors of a new government-sponsored study are calling for increased condom distribution after finding that 18% of homosexual men in Vancouver are infected with HIV.

The study, organized by the Public Health Agency of Canada and several provincial health organizations, found that there are 150-190 new HIV cases among homosexual men in B.C. each year, and 1,800 homosexual men were infected in the last decade.

The authors note that in 2008 the Public Health Agency of Canada estimated 51% of people with HIV in the country were homosexual men.

The ‘ManCount’ study ran from August 2008 to February 2009, with researchers taking blood samples and conducting questionnaires from 1,139 homosexual men at Vancouver’s main homosexual venues.

Of those studied, 2.5% were unaware that they were HIV positive.

Older men were more likely to have contracted HIV, with 34% of those 45 and older testing positive, compared to 7% of those under 30.  Nevertheless, they point out that this is no reason for optimism because “young men under 30 now may see the same HIV prevalence among their peers when they reach 45 as seen in older gay men today.”

About a third of the men surveyed had one or no sexual partners in the previous six months, a third had two to five partners, and another third had more than five (though they note that some had many more than that).

The authors used the results to call for greater distribution of condoms at Vancouver’s gay venues.  They also advocated a campaign to promote more frequent HIV testing, recommending a test every 3-6 months.  They suggested this should target, in particular, men under 30, noting their finding that 23% of such men had never been tested.

Because only those who frequent Vancouver’s homosexual venues were surveyed, the researchers admitted that there is a potential the sample is biased.  They also pointed out that their figures are estimates, and may vary by a few percentage points.

The Canadian study comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a new report this week on sexually transmitted diseases showing that syphilis and Chlamydia are rising, especially among homosexual men.

See the ManCount report here.

See the CDC report here.

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