Previous research has shown younger age to be correlated with greater HIV sexual risk-taking among gay men. The purpose of this study was to identify variables associated with HIV risk-taking among younger gay men. Ninety-nine gay men aged 18-25 in three medium-sized West Coast communities completed self-report questionnaires regarding HIV-related behaviors and attitudes. Of the respondents, 43% reported having engaged in unprotected anal intercourse during the previous 6 months. Men who engaged in unprotected anal intercourse reported greater enjoyment of unprotected anal intercourse, perceived less risk of unprotected anal intercourse, labeled themselves as more at risk for AIDS, reported poorer communication skills with sexual partners, and were more likely to have a boyfriend/lover than men who had not engaged in high-risk sex. In addition, respondents perceived the likelihood of acquiring HIV from unprotected anal intercourse with young gay men to be significantly lower than with older gay men. These findings highlight the need for HIV risk-reduction interventions designed specifically for young gay men and identify critical areas to be targeted in such interventions.
(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.