OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Gay men in relationships needed for study on HIV infection rates

08/17/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A recent survey article in the journal AIDS concluded that more than 50 percent of gay men reported contracting HIV from their main sexual partner.

Now Jason Mitchell, a Ph.D. student in public health at Oregon State University, wants to find out how and why infection rates are increasing among gay couples, and how researchers can better structure health programs aimed at couples instead of just individuals.

“More information is needed to better understand relationship dynamics among gay couples and how these dynamics affect their sexual health,” Mitchell said. “Quite simply, it takes two to tango and the future of gay men’s health programs and messaging need to incorporate this simple fact.”

Mitchell has recently started what he calls “The Boyfriend Study” to learn more about the underlying characteristics in relationships. He is looking to recruit 140 couples in the Pacific Northwest, especially from Portland and Seattle, to complete an anonymous survey. Portland and Seattle both rank in the top four cities for same-sex partner households in the nation.

The structure of the study is unique because it asks both partners to complete a survey independently of each other in order to group many of the factors – commitment, trust, and sexual behavior – present in the relationship. According to Mitchell, previous surveys have only investigated the input from one of the participants at a time.

Participants must be age 18 or older, be fluent in English, have been in a sexual relationship for three months or longer, and both must have negative or unknown HIV status.

To participate, email: theboyfriendstudy@gmail.com or call 310-663-3965 to schedule an appointment.