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AIDS and sexual behavior reported by gay men in San Francisco


  • McKusick, L.
  • Horstman, W.
  • Coates, T.J.


In November 1983, we surveyed 655 gay men in San Francisco regarding their sexual practices during the previous month and the same month one year ago. The sample was selected to include men in situations that would lead to high risk of sexual activities related to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) transmission (i.e., men frequenting bathhouses and gay bars) as well as men in low-risk situations (those going to neither place and men in primary relationships). The Bath group showed little change in frequency of bathhouse use and in number of sexual partners from that location. The other groups showed substantial reductions in frequency of sexual contacts from bars, baths, T-rooms, or parks. Men in monogamous relationships showed little change in sexual behavior within their relationships. Men in non-monogamous relationships and men not in relationships reported substantial reductions in high-risk sexual activity, but not a corresponding increase in low-risk sexual behavior. Knowledge of health guidelines was quite high, but this knowledge had no relation to sexual behavior. Using sex to release tension, use of sex to express gay identity, and knowledge of persons with AIDS in the advanced stages of disease were related to frequency and type of sexual behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • McKusick, L. & Horstman, W. & Coates, T.J., 1985. "AIDS and sexual behavior reported by gay men in San Francisco," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 75(5), pages 493-496.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.75.5.493_0
    DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.75.5.493

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    Cited by:

    1. Marlène Guillon & Josselin Thuilliez, 2015. "HIV and Rational risky behaviors: a systematic review of published empirical literature (1990-2013)," Post-Print halshs-01222571, HAL.
    2. Mansour, Hani & Rees, Daniel I. & Reeves, James, 2020. "Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," IZA Discussion Papers 13442, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Emily Oster, 2005. "Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Behavior and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," CID Working Papers 4, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    4. Oster, Emily, 2012. "HIV and sexual behavior change: Why not Africa?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-49.
    5. Abel Brodeur & Warn N Lekfuangfu & Yanos Zylberberg, 2018. "War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(5), pages 1540-1576.
    6. Auld, M. Christopher, 2003. "Choices, beliefs, and infectious disease dynamics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 361-377, May.
    7. Francis, Andrew M., 2008. "The economics of sexuality: The effect of HIV/AIDS on homosexual behavior in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 675-689, May.
    8. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-01222571 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Hani Mansour & Daniel I. Rees & James M. Reeves, 2020. "Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 27504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Christopher J. Cronin & William N. Evans, 2020. "Private Precaution and Public Restrictions: What Drives Social Distancing and Industry Foot Traffic in the COVID-19 Era?," NBER Working Papers 27531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Hani Mansour & Daniel I. Rees & James Reeves, 2020. "Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," CESifo Working Paper Series 8433, CESifo.

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