via BMJ group, by Bob Roehr

Bangkok
One in 10 gay and bisexual men aged 18 to 21 became infected with HIV during their first year of enrollment in a cohort study in Bangkok. The rate of new infections slows down a bit after that, in part because those most likely to become infected already are. Fully 1 in 3 of them carry the virus by the time they reach 30.

“From 18 to 21 it has been a slaughterhouse,” says Frits van Griensven, shaking his head in dismay. “They are getting the best prevention information possible, counselling every four months, condoms and lubricants. They know the facts of incidence of new infections.” And yet the infections continue to occur, “It is something that we cannot control with behavioural interventions.”

Van Griensven runs what is believed to be the only HIV prevention clinic in all of Asia that was created to serve men who have sex with men. This is despite the fact that in Asia, that group is 18.7 times more likely to become infected with HIV than the general population.

“It’s my opinion that the epidemic in young men is driven by methamphetamines – crystal ice. I don’t know what to do about it,” he says.

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