Male Homosexual Behavior and the Effects of AIDS Education: A Study of Behavior and Safer Sex in New Zealand and South Australia

By B. R. Simon Rosser | Go to book overview

behavioral aspects as it is a social problem with some medical aspects.9

Philosophically, scientific research is often best viewed as being like a photograph.10 Over time, while parts of the picture will no doubt vary, other aspects will remain intransient. Similarly, should another photographer take a picture from another angle, the insights gained might be different. To complete the analogy, it is only by several photographers taking pictures from several different angles that a reliable overall picture emerges from the differing impressions.

These, then, are my impressions of homosexual behavior, the psychology of safer sex, and the efficacy of AIDS education techniques, which I offer for your reflection. As a psychologist, I believe that health education has tremendous potential to change people's behavior and lives. As we shall see in AIDS education, this study suggests the effects of health education may be both positive and negative. As an empiricist, I strongly believe that health education must be based on hard data and be empirically evaluated. Otherwise we must, by necessity, go on not learning from our mistakes. If this study assists people to replace ignorance with fact, base their actions on empirical data rather than solely on impression or stereotype, and encourage other empirical research in this field, then the study shall have been immensely worthwhile.


NOTES
1
This book is based on the first doctoral research into safer sex behavior to be completed in the Southern Hemisphere (awarded in 1990). As such it is a groundbreaking work with much of the findings remaining speculative or requiring substantiation before being uncritically accepted as fact.
2
Maintaining the academic integrity of this research while trying to make it accessible to those without a statistical or psychosexual background has not been an easy exercise. Readers familiar with the usual form of scientific presentations will note that results and discussion have been combined to assist readability.
3
Other modifications to the original thesis are as follows. The literature review in the original thesis has been removed and a chapter inserted presenting data on discrimination and violence experienced by the sample. Similarly, Chapter 18 of this book has been included to summarize the major findings of this study and Chapter 19 included to note the implications of these results for the future.
4
See Chapter 2.
5
Throughout this study, the term homosexually active men has been used in preference to other choices such as gay or homosexual. In current usage, gay generally describes homosexually active men who identify themselves as such or the culture and social groupings of these men. The label homosexual (as a noun) historically referred to those with a clinical diagnosis of pathology that is no longer recognized, and so the term is inappropriate. (It is also a term heavily attacked by gay activists as stereotyping people by identifying one single aspect of their lives as sufficient to describe them and reinforces a dichotic conceptualization of sexuality

-4-

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