A recent study on heterosexual anal intercourse suggests that couples feel that it is a safe way to avoid HIV and other STIs. The study was presented at the 2016 American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynocologists (ACOG) annual meeting by a team of physicians from the University of Washington in Seatle. One of the authors of the study, Dr. Lyndsey Benson, talked with Plus about the study, its results, and what it means.
The study, named Survey of Motivations for Anal Sex among Heterosexuals (SMASH), surveyed 5,000 American men and women aged 15-50 years old. The study began after a previous study by Benson highlighted “many knowledge gaps” in regards to what Americans knew about anal sex, including information about condom use, frequency of engaging in anal versus penis into vagina (PIV) sexual practices, and knowledge of HIV risks. Benson, the lead researcher, explained that this study was particularly important, as the majority (84 perccent) of new HIV cases in women can be “attributed to heterosexual contact.”
The researchers also discovered that a disconcerting number of Americans were engaging in hetero anal sex as a way to avoid sexually transmitted infections including HIV. More than 70 percent of adults in the study incorrectly believe that vaginal intercourse is higher risk than receptive anal intercourse. Among those that had anal sex, 10 percent reported they had done so as a form of contraception at least once.
The Advocate has the full story. This goes right back to Siobhan’s recent post about Canadian Blood Service’s new policies. Heterosexuals continue to be seen as low risk when it comes to blood donation, but gay men and transgender women are still being restricted and banned.