AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 2068–2078 | Cite as

Sustained Reduction in Sexual Behavior that May Pose a Risk of HIV Transmission Following Diagnosis During Early HIV Infection Among Gay Men in Vancouver, British Columbia

  • Mark GilbertEmail author
  • Darlene Taylor
  • Warren Michelow
  • Daniel Grace
  • Robert Balshaw
  • Michael Kwag
  • Elgin Lim
  • Benedikt Fischer
  • David Patrick
  • Gina Ogilvie
  • Daniel Coombs
  • Malcolm Steinberg
  • Michael Rekart
Original Paper


Increased viral load during early HIV infection (EHI) disproportionately contributes to HIV transmission among gay men. We examined changes in sexual behavior that may pose a risk of HIV transmission (condomless anal sex (AS) with a serodiscordant or unknown status partner, CAS-SDU) in a cohort of 25 gay men newly diagnosed during EHI who provided information on 241 sexual partners at six time points following diagnosis. Twenty-two (88%) participants reported ≥1 AS partner (median time to first AS 80 days) and 12 (55%) reported ≥1 partnership involving CAS-SDU (median 116 days). In hierarchical generalized linear mixed effects models, AS was significantly less likely in all time periods following diagnosis and more likely with serodiscordant partners. The likelihood of CAS-SDU decreased three months after diagnosis and was higher in recently versus acutely infected participants. Most men in our study abstained from sex immediately after diagnosis with sustained longer-term reduction in CAS-SDU, confirming the importance of timely diagnosis during EHI.


HIV Sexual behavior Gay men Diagnosis Cohort study 



The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Richard Rothenberg for informing the design of the study and interpretation of study findings, and to Guillaume Colley, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Theodora Consolacion, BC Centre for Disease Control for their assistance in accessing provincial data sources.


This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), FRN: HET-85520.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of British Columbia research ethics board which approved this study, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Gilbert
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Darlene Taylor
    • 3
    • 4
  • Warren Michelow
    • 2
  • Daniel Grace
    • 5
  • Robert Balshaw
    • 1
    • 6
  • Michael Kwag
    • 7
  • Elgin Lim
    • 8
  • Benedikt Fischer
    • 9
  • David Patrick
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gina Ogilvie
    • 2
    • 4
  • Daniel Coombs
    • 6
  • Malcolm Steinberg
    • 10
  • Michael Rekart
    • 2
  1. 1.BC Centre for Disease ControlVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.School of NursingUniversity of British Columbia OkanaganKelownaCanada
  4. 4.Women’s Health Research InstituteVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of StatisticsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  7. 7.CATIETorontoCanada
  8. 8.Positive Living Society of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  9. 9.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  10. 10.Faculty of Health SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada

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