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US: CDC agrees to stop using term ‘unprotected sex’

Agency to use ‘condomless sex’ to refer to sex without condoms


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it intends to discontinue the use of the term “unprotected sex” to refer to sex without condoms and will instead use “condomless sex,” The Bay Area Reporter says.

According to the report, the CDC’s change of terminology drew praise from HIV/AID activists and educators, as well as medical researchers. Julie Davids, director of the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA), says the change is recognition of the inaccuracy of making “sex without condoms” synonymous with “unprotected sex.”

Davids contends that the label “unprotected” does not convey the array of methods gay men use, including serosorting and seropositioning, to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

Sean Strub, founder of POZ magazine and author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival, also hailed the “welcome and overdue change,” the report adds. Strub notes that HIV transmission has been known to occur because of condom failure, arguing that having an undetectable viral load results in lower risk of communicating HIV than only using condoms.

One commenter on the story objected to the CDC’s move, saying the change in language “misinforms the most at-risk people on the risks really involved, and only serves to encourage riskier behavior. For those people who are more sexually active, acting as if barebacking is not ‘unprotected sex’ is highly dangerous to them and those they sleep with.”