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Many men in relationships also pay for sex: Study

Many men who pay for sex are already in relationships, the findings of a small UK study show.
NEW YORK: Many men who pay for sex are already in relationships, the findings of a small UK study show.
The study "raises awareness of the risks taken by men who pay for sex, and the risks they are also placing on their partners," co-author Dr. Tamsin Groom, a specialist registrar in sexual and reproductive health at The Sandyford Initiative in Glasgow, Scotland, told Reuters Health.
"Routine questions about commercial sexual contacts could allow targeted health promotion and harm minimisation for this group of men, protecting their partners - both unsuspecting and commercial," Groom and co-author R. Nandwani write in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Previously published results from the second national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles showed that the number of men in the general UK population who reported paying for sex increased to 4.2 percent in 2000, from 2.0 percent in 1990.
A separate analysis of the data revealed that men who paid for sex were more likely than their counterparts to report having at least 10 sex partners during the previous five years, and only 15 percent of these men said they had ever been tested for HIV.
Groom and Nandwani analysed questionnaire responses from 2,665 men who visited the Sandyford clinic for genitourinary medicine and reproductive health services between October 2002 and February 2004.
Ten percent (267) of the men said they had ever paid for sex or been paid for sex. In cases that could be assessed, 43 percent of those who paid for sex seemed to have done so while in a relationship, Groom and Nandwani report.
Almost one third (32 percent) of men paid for sex more than once while they were in a relationship. Still, these men''s relationships lasted about 11 years, on average, the report indicates.
Those who paid for sex abroad (51 percent) were almost twice as likely to engage in unprotected vaginal sex than those who paid for sex locally or in other areas of the UK.
Many of the men tested positive for a sexually transmitted infection, which "shows the possibility of STI transmission, and for men paying for sex abroad, the possibility of acting as a "bridge" between different populations," the authors write.
None of the 120 men tested for HIV were infected, although one man had hepatitis C infection, the authors note.
Two thirds of the men said they had paid for sex at some point during the previous year and 35 percent said they had done so within the previous month. Those who had paid for sex during the previous year reported an average of five different sex partners.
Despite these findings, Groom told Reuters Health that people should not panic. "Not all men are paying for sex and (most) are doing it safely, if at all," the researcher noted.
On the other hand, Groom adds, "if you are someone who is paying for sex please discuss it with your local sexual health service, (which can and) should be able to provide nonjudgmental advice and discuss ways to make yourself safer."

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