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Despite years of public awareness campaigns, HIV continues to spread at epidemic rates. A new study from Belgian researchers has found that gay men may require the most HIV testing, as they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors that could result in the spread of the disease.
Investigators from Ghent University examined blood tests from more than 500 Belgian men and women of all sexual orientations who were diagnosed with HIV between 2001 and 2009. They found that gay men from the region were more likely to have the same strain of the virus, indicating that they are more likely to share sexual partners.
"We found that clustered viruses are more frequently isolated from young Caucasian men who have sex with men and who have a high prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases," said Chris Verhofstede, who led the investigation. He added that high-risk behavior among this group is likely the cause of the local spread.
Verhofstede said that prevention efforts aimed at this specific demographic may help lower transmission rates in the region.
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