Parties in which HIV-positive gay men meet for sex could pose a health threat, sexual health specialists say.
The POZ party craze emerged in New York in the mid-1990s. Named after a magazine that took its name from HIV-positive, they are orgies where unprotected sex with several partners is not uncommon.
The rationale is that since the parties are exclusively for HIV-positive men, they help to contain the virus within an already infected population. But this view is misleading, say researchers writing in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The team, led by Dr Michael Clatts of the National Development and Research Institute in New York, state that high levels of unprotected sex promote the spread of diseases other than HIV infection. The survey of 115 men in 2003 found that the parties could help to spread strains of the virus resistant to treatment.