Image credit: iStock/Zadirako Image credit: iStock/Zadirako

Gay and bisexual men who engage in sex with multiple partners are more likely to use protection, according to a new study. The findings are at odds with the common misconception that promiscuous gay men don't tend to use condoms.

According to the study carried out by the British Columbian Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, those who often have sex with numerous people within a short space of time tend to be more conscientious about their sexual health.

For the study, men from Vancouver were divided into groups based on the number of sexual partners they had had within a six-month period. Each of the groups were asked about their behaviours and the seroadaptive techniques they employ to cut down on the chances of contracting HIV.

While condoms weren't the only seroadaptive technique employed, they are one of the most effective. According to the study authors, men also found discussing partners' viral loads helpful, as low viral loads mean the likelihood of the virus being passed on is slim to none.

It was found that those who had the most sexual partners tended to be best at using strategies to help prevent the transmission of HIV.

At the other end of the scale, certain factors were associated with being the worst at engaging in safe sex. These included substance abuse, and mental health issues, although the authors of the study are keen to look into these areas more.

Nathan Lachowsky, one of the authors of the study, told CBS that while one in five gay men in Metro Vancouver is living with HIV or AIDS, the findings show that outreach and education initiatives are working.

While the findings cannot be extrapolated to the straight community, they could be representative of the larger gay community, although further study would be required to confirm this.

It is important that you use protection to reduce the risk of transmitting STIs, including HIV, especially if you do engage with numerous sexual partners. Condoms are an effective way to protect yourself and your partner, while regular STI tests can also help keep you healthy.