The Analysis of Surveillance and Effectiveness of the “Friendly, Healthy and Safe Business Certification Program” for Gay Saunas
2013 Vol.29 NO.23
Correspondence Author： Shih-Yang Yang, Nai-Ying Ko
The men who have sexual activities with men are the primary risk group for HIV infection in Taiwan. Gay sauna is a principal place for men to have homosexual activities, and the transmission rate for sexually transmitted disease is high. In 2011, the “friendly, healthy and safe business certification program” for gay saunas has was launched with the intervention of “Sex Police: The surveillance and guidance of safe sexual activity.” This program urges consumers to use condoms during sexual activities. The purposes of this research are: (1) to understand each sauna’s physical features and AIDS-related policies and services; (2) to understand the traits and risk behavior of customers in saunas; and (3) to compare the effectiveness of the “friendly, healthy and safe business certification program” before and after in order to evaluate the policy and formulate health education strategies in the future. Each sauna provides condoms when the consumers enter, and condoms are often placed at the counter. The owners and the employees wish that the public sector can provide free condoms, that the “friendly, healthy and safe business certification program” can be more differentiable, and that the way of certification can be more transparent and standardized. There is no significant difference between certificated and uncertified saunas in terms of their customers’ age, sexual history, sexual health during the past 6 months, and levels of recreational drug use. With respect to the acquirement of condoms, the onsite spots for accessing condoms are more diverse in the certified saunas than the uncertified ones. In addition, the numbers of people having oral sex without condoms differ significantly, as there are more people having oral sex without condoms in certified saunas. This research finds that the average age of the consumers is 34.35 years, and the proportion of consumers under 20 years old is only about 4 %. The results show that sauna is not the principal place for young gays to have sex anymore, but it is still an important place for middle aged gays to develop sexual relationships.