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AIDS, Culture, and Gay Men$
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Douglas A. Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034317

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034317.001.0001

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Substance, Kinship, and the Meaning of Unprotected Sex among Gay Men in Australia

Substance, Kinship, and the Meaning of Unprotected Sex among Gay Men in Australia

Chapter:
(p.213) 12 Substance, Kinship, and the Meaning of Unprotected Sex among Gay Men in Australia
Source:
AIDS, Culture, and Gay Men
Author(s):

Sean Slavin

Jeanne Ellard

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813034317.003.0012

That some gay men continue to have unprotected anal sex in the context of the HIV epidemic represents on ongoing challenge for HIV prevention efforts. In recent years, explanations have been more keenly sought than ever. In Australia, North America, and Europe, various studies have monitored increases in both unprotected sex and HIV incidence among gay men. One way this issue has developed in public discussion has been through the phenomenon of “barebacking,” a practice that is invariably invoked as risky. This chapter looks at why some gay men continue to have unprotected anal sex, even though they are fully aware of the consequences and risk of HIV infection. Using data from interviews with gay men in three Australian cities, it examines cultural meanings of condomless anal sex in relation to dominant ideals of romantic love and unity, using David Schneider's analysis of Western kinship and his concept of “substance,” family, and love to understand the nature of HIV risk among gay men. Gay male couples often see condoms as an impediment to personal intimacy.

Keywords:   HIV infection, gay men, Australia, anal sex, unprotected sex, intimacy, family, barebacking, love, unity

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