Cape Town’s health services chief says that young gay people are taking more risks with unsafe sex than before, reports the Cape Times.
According to the paper, Ivan Toms – executive director of health services for the city – made the comment in a talk at a meeting of the Africa Genome Education Institute’s Biotechnology and Health Economics Working Group of South Africa on Monday.
Toms said that the emphasis on safe sex and the dangers of HIV/Aids in the gay community seems to be slipping, saying that “young, crazy people are starting to play young, crazy risk games.”
He blamed the situation on the belief among many younger gay men that because of the perceived success of anti-retrovirals, Aids is no longer seen as a death sentence. He said that young people tend to think of the disease as a chronic and easily manageable one.
While Toms emphasised the fact that HIV/Aids epidemic in South Africa remains a primarily heterosexual phenomenon, he noted that research that is being undertaken by the Human Sciences Research Council – which aims to assess the rate of HIV infection in homosexuals in the country – appears to show that the disease is “becoming a really serious problem in the gay community as well.”
According to Toms, the HIV prevalence rate among the adult population (15 to 49) in South Africa was between 18 percent and 19 percent in 2005.