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

were found between SS and US estimates of the general public's behavior and risk of HIV to the general public.

White et al. [ 1987] found that respondents drawn from the general community tended to believe that they were at no risk for contracting AIDS, had not changed their behavior but believed that the community was changing its behavior to some extent, and concluded that a degree of complacency existed among the general public, perceiving AIDS as someone else's problem. By contrast, respondents in this study perceived themselves at low risk of contracting HIV, reported having made considerable changes since AIDS became known, but perceived that, in comparison, their peers and society in general have not changed to the same extent. Rather than the complacency found in White et al.'s [ 1987] study, the current results are consistent with respondents experiencing a degree of isolation -- that is, they perceive themselves as different from their peers and their society. Media presentations highlighting the changes that homosexually active men have made and campaigns targeting the sexually active regardless of orientation may assist in modifying these perceptions and assist those practicing safer sex to obtain support for their safe behavior.


CONCLUSIONS

Throughout Part II, the central focus has been the identification of those factors that distinguish those participating in exclusively safer sex behavior from those engaging in unsafe sex. The purpose of this focus is not to alienate or stigmatize either group but rather to start to examine what factors may be influencing homosexually active men toward or away from safer sex behavior.

No one variable stands out as a key to unraveling why some people engage in unsafe sex and others don't, nor should simplistic solutions or direct causality be attributed from these findings. Rather, the results in these chapters reflect how sexual behavior is not an isolated phenomenon but is an integral part of a far wider and more complex entity: the human person. Nevertheless, these results provide indications to assist in the design of more sophisticated programs to aid those practicing unsafe sex to modify their behavior. Thus it is appropriate at this stage to turn our attention to the next section, which examines the effects of current programs on the behavior and perceptions of homosexually active men.


NOTES
1
Pat Gourley of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Colorado, quoted in Rutledge [ 1988], p. 119.

-150-

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