chapter  1
20 Pages

Reputedly Effective Risk Reduction Strategies and Gay Men

The outbreak of AIDS has overwhelmed the entire gay world. The initial drop in the frequency of ‘casual’ sexual encounters, first observed in France in our second study in 1986 (Pollak and Schiltz, 1987), has been followed by the development of various strategies that enable gay men to continue to have this kind of sexual activity. Although the prevention message directed at gay men in France has frequently emphasized ‘completely safe sex’—the systematic protection of all practices with all partners1-there is evidence to suggest that condom use and, in general, ‘safer sex’ are adopted to varying degrees. Our work also points to the diversity of AIDS prevention strategies used by gay men that go beyond simple condom use. These different options, whose underlying logic and efficacy need to be better understood, appear to be correlated with the social position of gay men in society as a whole as well as within the gay world itself.