Seroconversion Study Annual Report 2010 lead author Ian Down has clarified comments he made to the Star Observer about oral sex and HIV at the launch of the study on April 15.

“One in five of these men say they didn’t engage in any unprotected intercourse at the high risk event, which we know is the strongest risk factor for HIV seroconversion,” Down said of study participants when being interviewed for an article which appeared in SS 131.

“That’s a significant proportion and a lot of these men believe their infection occurred through oral sex.”

However, Down this week clarified those comments, telling Star Observer that the proportion of those who attributed their infection to oral sex was only one in 20 and many of those had engaged in higher risk behaviours prior to the event which they believed led to their infection.

“Only one in 20 actually believe oral sex may have been responsible for their HIV infection,” he said.

“Even so, when they describe their sexual behaviour in the six months before their diagnosis, many of these men also report occasions of unprotected anal intercourse.

So, while for a few men oral sex may have been what they identified as the reason for their infection, in most cases there were very likely other contributing factors.
They also describe things like recent dental work, ulcers or other problems in the mouth.”

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