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1.  Race/ethnic differences in HIV prevalence and risks among adolescent and young adult men who have sex with men 
The prevalence of HIV infection is disproportionately higher in both racial/ethnic minority men who have sex with men (MSM) and in men under the age of 25, where the leading exposure category is homosexual contact. Less is known, however, about patterns of HIV prevalence in young racial/ethnic minority MSM. We analyzed data from the Young men’s Survey (YMS), an anonymous, corss-sectional survey of 351 MSM in Baltimore and 529 MSM in New York City, aged 15–22, to determine whether race/ethnicity differences exist in the prevalence of HIV infection and associated risk factors. Potential participants were selected systematically at MSM-identified public venues. Venues and associated time periods for subject selection were selected randomly on a monthly basis. Eligible and willing subjects provided informed consent and underwent an interview, HIV pretest counseling, and a blood draw for HIV antibody testing. In multivariate analysis, adjusted for city of recruitment, and age, HIV seroprevalence was highest for African Americans [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=12.5], intermediate for those of “other/mixed” race/ethnicity (AOR=8.6), and moderately elevated for Hispanics (AOR=4.6) as compared to whites. Stratified analysis showed different risk factors for HIV prevalence in each ethnic group: for African Americans, these were history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and not being in school; for Hispanics, risk factors were being aged 20–22, greater number of male partners and use of recreational drugs; and for those of “other/mixed” race/ethnicity, risk factors included injection drug use and (marginally) STDs. These findings suggest the need for HIV prevention and testing programs which target young racial/ethnic, minority MSM and highlight identified risk factors and behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3456687  PMID: 16221919
Adolescents; Drug use; HIV prevalence; Men who have sex with men; Race ethnicity; Sexual behavior
2.  Sexual Partnering and HIV Risk among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men: New York City 
Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected with HIV in the US. Limited event-specific data have been reported in Black MSM to help understand factors associated with increased risk of infection. Cross-sectional National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Study data from 503 MSM who reported ≥1 male sexual partner in the past year in New York City (NYC) were analyzed. Case-crossover analysis compared last protected and last unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). A total of 503 MSM were enrolled. Among 349 tested for HIV, 18% were positive. Black MSM (N = 117) were more likely to test HIV positive and not know their HIV-positive status than other racial/ethnic groups. Case-crossover analysis of 208 MSM found that men were more likely to engage in protected anal intercourse with a first time partner and with a partner of unknown HIV status. Although Black MSM were more likely to have Black male partners, they were not more likely to have UAI with those partners or to have a partner aged >40 years. In conclusion, HIV prevalence was high among Black MSM in NYC, as was lack of awareness of HIV-positive status. Having a sexual partner of same race/ethnicity or older age was not associated with having UAI among Black MSM.
PMCID: PMC2821613  PMID: 19949990
HIV infection; Sexual partnering; Black men who have sex with men; African American; Unprotected anal intercourse
3.  Racial Differences in Same-Race Partnering and the Effects of Sexual Partnership Characteristics on HIV Risk in MSM: A Prospective Sexual Diary Study 
Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for more than half of new HIV infections each year, and young Black MSM experience the highest incidence rates. Black MSM have not been found to engage in more HIV risk behaviors, and it has been proposed that sexual network factors (racially homophilous networks) and partnership characteristics (influence of older partners and familiarity with partners) may help account for this disparity.
143 ethnically diverse MSM were enrolled in an online prospective diary study of sexual behavior. Participants completed weekly diaries of sexual encounters and associated situational factors for 12 weeks. All analyses were conducted with Hierarchical Linear Modeling.
Black MSM reported significantly less unprotected sex than other groups and were the most racially homophilous group in terms of sexual partnerships. Having older sexual partners and familiarity with partners were both associated with increased odds of sexual risk in Black MSM only. A three-way interaction between participant age, participant race, and sexual partner age revealed a strong association between having older partners and odds of sexual risk for young Black MSM, as well as a strong association between having younger partners and sexual risk for older non-Black MSM.
Findings expand upon previous theory and cross-sectional research. Results indicate that some of the driving forces behind the disproportionate HIV incidence in Black MSM may be the greater likelihood of racially homophilous sexual networks combined with the stronger influence of sexual partner age and familiarity with partners on condom use.
PMCID: PMC3640752  PMID: 23187943
HIV/AIDS; men who have sex with men; race; sexual risk
4.  HIV Testing as a Standard of Care for Men Who Have Sex With Men: Patient and Provider Perspectives 
In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its HIV testing recommendations in health care settings. Current guidelines recommend that all patients aged 13 to 64 years be screened for HIV as part of routine medical care. Additionally, the CDC recommends that persons at high risk for HIV infection should be screened for HIV at least annually. Primary care providers in clinical settings are seen as important providers of HIV prevention services and will be critical to expand HIV testing rates, particularly among populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM). This article reports on results from a multifaceted study that combined qualitative and quantitative methods and targeted both MSM and primary care providers. Through a quantitative survey with 709 MSM in Wisconsin, we explored the relationship between having a primary care provider, risk behavior, and HIV testing patterns. In the qualitative portion of the study, we conducted structured interviews with 7 clinic medical directors to explore the acceptability and feasibility of increased HIV testing in clinical setting strategy among primary care providers. Consistent with previous research, the results of this study indicate that primary care providers can play a significant role in encouraging and facilitating annual routine testing as a standard of care for high-risk MSM. This article offers policy and practice recommendations based on these findings.
PMCID: PMC3419528  PMID: 22905320
HIV testing; patients; health personnel
5.  Willingness to Use the Internet to Seek Information on HIV Prevention and Care among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71471.
In Vietnam, men who have sex with men (MSM) are highly affected by HIV and need new targeted HIV prevention strategies.
To assess the willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care and associated factors among MSM in Ho Chi Minh City.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 2012. Participants were recruited using a convenience sampling method in venues most frequented by MSM and completed a self-administered questionnaire. Logistic regression models were performed to estimate factors associated with the willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care.
A total of 358 MSM were approached for the survey and 222 questionnaires (62.0%) were eligible for analyses. Overall, 76.1% of the respondents reported that they were willing to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care. A number of male partners in last year less than or equal to 3 (Adjusted Odds Ratio: 3.07, 95% Confidence interval: 1.40–6.73), a history of STI screening (4.10, 1.02–16.48) and HIV testing (3.23, 1.20–8.64) and having ever sought a male sexual partner through the Internet (3.56, 1.55–8.18) were significantly positively associated with the willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care.
The MSM interviewed in Ho Chi Minh City reported a high willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care. In a context where new media are increasingly considered as promising options for reaching this HIV risk group, further research should be conducted on developing and testing tailored online tools adapted to the needs of Vietnamese MSM.
PMCID: PMC3747213  PMID: 23977048
6.  HIV among men who have sex with men in Malawi: elucidating HIV prevalence and correlates of infection to inform HIV prevention 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2013;16(4Suppl 3):18742.
There are limited data characterizing the burden of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Malawi. Epidemiologic research and access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services have been traditionally limited in Malawi by criminalization and stigmatization of same-sex practices. To inform the development of a comprehensive HIV prevention intervention for Malawian MSM, we conducted a community-led assessment of HIV prevalence and correlates of infection.
From April 2011 to March 2012, 338 MSM were enrolled in a cross-sectional study in Blantyre, Malawi. Participants were recruited by respondent-driven sampling methods (RDS), reaching 19 waves. Trained staff administered the socio-behavioural survey and HIV and syphilis voluntary counselling and testing.
Crude HIV and syphilis prevalence estimates were 15.4% (RDS-weighted 12.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 7.3–17.8) and 5.3% (RDS-weighted 4.4%, 95% CI: 3.1–7.6), respectively. Ninety per cent (90.4%, unweighted) of HIV infections were reported as being previously undiagnosed. Participants were predominantly gay-identified (60.8%) or bisexually identified (36.3%); 50.7% reported recent concurrent relationships. Approximately half reported consistent condom use (always or almost always) with casual male partners, and proportions were relatively uniform across partner types and genders. The prevalence of perceived and experienced stigma exceeded 20% for almost all variables, 11.4% ever experienced physical violence and 7% were ever raped. Current age >25 years (RDS-weighted adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.9, 95% CI: 1.2–12.7), single marital status (RDS-weighted AOR: 0.3; 95% CI: 0.1–0.8) and age of first sex with a man <16 years (RDS-weighted AOR: 4.3, 95% CI: 1.2–15.0) were independently associated with HIV infection.
Results demonstrate that MSM represent an underserved, at-risk population for HIV services in Malawi and merit comprehensive HIV prevention services. Results provide a number of priorities for research and prevention programmes for MSM, including providing access to and encouraging regular confidential HIV testing and counselling, and risk reduction counselling related to anal intercourse. Other targets include the provision of condoms and compatible lubricants, HIV prevention information, and HIV and sexually transmitted infection treatment and adherence support. Addressing multiple levels of HIV risk, including structural factors, may help to ensure that programmes have sufficient coverage to impact this HIV epidemic among MSM.
PMCID: PMC3852128  PMID: 24321110
HIV; men who have sex with men (MSM); behavioural risks; stigma; Malawi; prevention
7.  Project Enhance: A Randomized Controlled Trial of an Individualized HIV Prevention Intervention for HIV-Infected Men Who Have Sex With Men Conducted in a Primary Care Setting 
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the largest group of individuals in the U.S. living with HIV and have the greatest number of new infections. This study was designed to test a brief, culturally relevant prevention intervention for HIV-infected MSM, which could be integrated into HIV care.
HIV-infected MSM who received HIV care in a community health center (N = 201), and who reported HIV sexual transmission-risk behavior (TRB) in the prior 6 months, were randomized to receive the intervention or treatment as usual. The intervention, provided by a medical social worker, included proactive case management for psychosocial problems, counseling about living with HIV, and HIV TRB risk reduction. Participants were followed every 3 months for one year.
Participants, regardless of study condition, reported reductions in HIV TRB, with no significant differential effect by condition in primary intent-to-treat analyses. When examining moderators, the intervention was differentially effective in reducing HIV TRB for those who screened in for baseline depression, but this was not the case for those who did not screen in for depression.
The similar level of reduction in HIV TRB in the intervention and control groups, consistent with other recent secondary prevention interventions, speaks to the need for new, creative designs, or more potent interventions in secondary HIV prevention trials, as the control group seemed to benefit from risk assessment, study contact, and referrals provided by study staff. The differential finding for those with depression may suggest that those without depression could reap benefits from limited interventions, but those with a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis may require additional interventions to modify their sexual risk behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3651590  PMID: 22746262
MSM; HIV prevention; AIDS/HIV; high-risk sexual behavior; depression
8.  Discussion of HIV Status by Serostatus and Partnership Sexual Risk among Internet-Using MSM in the United States 
Men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly black MSM, are disproportionally infected with HIV. Little is known about how discussion of HIV status between partners varies among MSM by race/ethnicity, and by HIV transmission risk. Among a national survey of 2,031 MSM reporting 5,410 partnerships, black MSM, especially black HIV-positive MSM, serodiscussed with UAI partners less than did white MSM. Although non-black HIV-positive, non-black HIV-negative MSM, and black HIV-negative MSM were more likely to report serodiscussion with UAI partners, black HIV-positive MSM were not. Differential serodiscussion may play a role in explaining the racial/ethnic disparity in HIV incidence.
PMCID: PMC3404205  PMID: 22549381
9.  Identification of HIV-Infected 12- to 24-Year-Old Men and Women in 15 US Cities Through Venue-Based Testing 
To test whether “venue-based testing” could identify human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in US youth, 12 to 24 years of age, who were otherwise not aware of their infection. Racial and ethnic minority women and men who have sex with men (WSM and MSM) compose the majority of new HIV cases among adolescents and young adults.
Cross-sectional study.
Selected venues in communities surrounding the 15 Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) clinical sites over a 3-month period.
At each venue, ATN sites recruited 20 to 30 English- or Spanish-speaking at-risk youth (12 to 24 years of age), resulting in a total of 1217 study participants, including 611 MSM and 606 WSM.
Venue-based HIV testing with 2 components: an anonymous audio computer-assisted self-administered interview and an anonymous HIV antibody assay.
Main Outcome Measure
The prevalence of HIV infection in MSM and WSM.
The prevalence of HIV infection in MSM and WSM was 15.3% and 0.3%, respectively. Sixty percent of the MSM and 100% of the WSM claimed to not know of their infection.
Venue-based testing may be an important strategy to identify HIV-infected younger MSM; however, other strategies are needed for WSM.
PMCID: PMC2903430  PMID: 20194262
10.  Linkage and Retention in HIV Care among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States 
Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. While the MSM population does better than other HIV infection risk groups with regard to linkage to and retention in care, little is known about engagement in care outcomes for important subpopulations of MSM. There is also a dearth of research on engagement in care strategies specific to the MSM population. Key MSM subpopulations in the United States on which to focus future research efforts include racial/ethnic minority, young, and substance-using MSM. Health care systems navigation may offer a promising engagement in care strategy for MSM and should be further evaluated. As is the case for HIV-infected populations in general, future research should also focus on identifying the best metrics for measuring engagement in care.
PMCID: PMC3106256  PMID: 21342910
11.  Sexual Health and Men Who Have Sex with Men in Vietnam: An Integrated Approach to Preventive Health Care 
Background. While HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam has received increasing attention, most studies focus on HIV knowledge and established risk factors such as injection drug use. This paper proposes to address HIV risk among MSM from an integrated approach to preventive care that takes into account syndemic conditions such as substance use, mental health, and stigma, the latter of which prevents MSM from accessing health services. Method. Current studies related to MSM in Vietnam from 2000 onwards, gathered from peer-reviewed as well as non-peer-reviewed sources, were examined. Results. HIV and STI prevalence among MSM varied significantly by location, and yet HIV prevalence has increased significantly over the past few years. Most studies have focused on sexual risk behaviors, paying little attention to the broad spectrum of sexual health, including noninjecting drug use, heavy alcohol consumption, high rates of mental health distress and anxiety, and stigma. Conclusion. Future research and interventions targeting MSM in Vietnam should address their vulnerability to HIV from an integrated approach that pays attention to both sexual health and syndemic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3479935  PMID: 23119171
12.  Commercial sex venues: a closer look at their impact on the syphilis and HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2006;82(6):439-443.
To provide insight into the role of commercial sex venues in the spread of syphilis and HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM).
A cross sectional study of 1351 MSM who were diagnosed with early syphilis who did and did not encounter sexual partners at commercial sex venues.
Overall, 26% MSM diagnosed with syphilis had sexual encounters at commercial sex venues. Of these, 74% were HIV positive, 94% reported anonymous sex, and 66% did not use a condom. Compared to those who did not have a sexual encounter at these venues, they were twice as likely to be HIV positive (OR = 1.91, 95% CI 1.36 to 2.68), six times more likely to have anonymous sex (OR = 6.18, 95% CI 3.37 to 11.32), twice as likely not to use condom (OR = 2.02, 95% CI 1.71 to 2.38), and twice as likely to use non‐injecting drugs (OR = 1.65, 95% CI 1.21 to 2.37).
MSM diagnosed with syphilis who frequent commercial sex venues are engaging in high risk behaviours for syphilis and HIV transmission and acquisition. Thus commercial sex venues are one of the focal points of syphilis and HIV transmission and acquisition.
PMCID: PMC2563878  PMID: 16885184
commercial sex venues; syphilis; HIV; risk behaviours; men who have sex with men
13.  Predictors of HIV testing among men who have sex with men in a large Chinese city 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2013;40(3):235-240.
HIV testing is the gateway for prevention and care. We explored factors associated with HIV testing among Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM).
In Chongqing City, we recruited 492 MSM in 2010 using respondent driven sampling in a cross-sectional study. Computer-assisted self-interviews were conducted to collect information on history of HIV testing.
Only 58% of participants reported ever having taken an HIV test. MSM who had a college degree [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-2.6; P=0.008] were more likely to take a test; those who preferred a receptive role in anal sex were less likely to do so than those with insertive sex preference (AOR: 0.6; 95% CI: 0.35-0.94; P=0.03); those who used condoms with the recent male partner during the past 6 months were more likely to get tested (AOR: 2.87; 95%CI: 1.25-6.62; P=0.01). Principal perceived barriers to testing included: fear of knowing a positive result, fear of discrimination if tested positive, low perceived risk of HIV infection, and not knowing where to take a test. Factors reported to facilitate testing were sympathetic attitudes from health staff and guaranteed confidentiality. Prevalence was high: 11.7% HIV-positive and 4.7% syphilis positive.
The HIV testing rate among MSM in Chongqing is still low, though MSM prevalence is high compared to other Chinese cities. MSM preferring receptive anal sex are less likely to get testing and perceive having lower HIV risk. Along with expanded education and social marketing, a welcoming and non-judgmental environment for HIV testing is needed.
PMCID: PMC3725775  PMID: 23403605
Human immunodeficiency virus; syphilis; men who have sex with men; HIV testing; respondent driven sampling; China
14.  Sexual Healthcare Preferences among Gay and Bisexual Men: A Qualitative Study in San Francisco, California 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71546.
Research on gay and other men who have sex with men's (G/MSM) preferences for sexual healthcare services focuses largely on HIV testing and to some extent on sexually transmitted infections (STI). This research illustrates the frequency and location of where G/MSM interface with the healthcare system, but it does not speak to why men seek care in those locations. As HIV and STI prevention strategies evolve, evidence about G/MSM's motivations and decision-making can inform future plans to optimize models of HIV/STI prevention and primary care.
We conducted a phenomenological study of gay men's sexual health seeking experiences, which included 32 in-depth interviews with gay and bisexual men. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and entered into Atlas.ti. We conducted a Framework Analysis.
We identified a continuum of sexual healthcare seeking practices and their associated drivers. Men differed in their preferences for separating sexual healthcare from other forms of healthcare (“fragmentation”) versus combining all care into one location (“consolidation”). Fragmentation drivers included: fear of being monitored by insurance companies, a desire to seek non-judgmental providers with expertise in sexual health, a desire for rapid HIV testing, perceiving sexual health services as more convenient than primary care services, and a lack of healthcare coverage. Consolidation drivers included: a comfortable and trusting relationship with a provider, a desire for one provider to oversee overall health and those with access to public or private health insurance.
Men in this study were likely to separate sexual healthcare from primary care. Based on this finding, we recommend placing new combination HIV/STI prevention interventions within sexual health clinics. Furthermore, given the evolution of the financing and delivery of healthcare services and in HIV prevention, policymakers and clinicians should consider including more primary care services within sexual healthcare settings.
PMCID: PMC3747218  PMID: 23977073
15.  Predictors of HIV and Syphilis among Men Who Have Sex with Men in a Chinese Metropolitan City: Comparison of Risks among Students and Non-Students 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37211.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at a substantial risk of HIV, given rising HIV prevalence in urban China. Adolescent and adult students often take HIV-related risk as part of sexual exploration. We compared the risks of HIV and syphilis infections and risky sexual behaviors between student and non-student among urban MSM.
Respondent driven sampling approach was used to recruit men who were self-identified as MSM in Chongqing Metropolitan City in southwestern China in 2009. Each participant completed a computer-assisted self-interview which collected demographic and behavioral data, and provided blood specimens for HIV and syphilis testing. Multivariable logistic regression analyses identified predictors for HIV and syphilis infections while comparing student and non-student MSM.
Among 503 MSM participants, 36.4% were students, of whom 84.2% were in college. The adjusted prevalence of HIV infection was 5.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.1%–10.2%) in students and 20.9% (95% CI: 13.7%–27.5%) in non-students; the adjusted prevalence of syphilis was 4.4% (95% CI: 0.7%–9.0%) in students and 7.9% (95% CI: 3.6%–12.9%) in non-students (P = 0.12). Two groups had similar risky sexual behaviors such as number of sexual partners and exchanging sex for money. Multivariate analysis showed that students had lower HIV prevalence than non-students (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 0.3; 95% CI: 0.1–0.8) adjusting for age, ethnicity and other variables.
Student MSM have lower HIV and similar syphilis prevalence compared with non-student MSM. However, due to a shorter duration of sexual experience and high prevalence of at-risk sexual behaviors among student MSM, HIV risk might be quite high in students as in non-students.
PMCID: PMC3356386  PMID: 22623994
16.  A systematic review of HIV interventions for black men who have sex with men (MSM) 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:625.
Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS. Despite this burden there has been a shortage of research on HIV interventions for black MSM. This article provides a comprehensive review of the literature on interventions for black MSM to identify effective HIV prevention intervention strategies for black MSM.
We searched 3 databases: Pubmed, Scopus, and Google Scholar to identify peer-reviewed articles and used the following search terms: African American or black; MSM or men who have sex with men and women (MSMW); HIV; program or intervention; and evaluation or intervention science or implementation research. We included research articles that assessed interventions for black men who have sex with men. We included studies that used an experimental, quasi-experimental, or pre-post test design as well as formative research studies. We also searched the CDC and NIH websites to identify planned and on-going intervention studies. We identified a total of 23 studies to include in the review.
We identified 12 completed studies of interventions for black MSM. Eight of these 12 interventions aimed to reduce HIV risk behaviors and 5 found a significant reduction in HIV risk behavior over time. We identified 4 health service intervention studies for young black MSM.
Behavior change interventions are effective at reducing HIV risk behaviors among black MSM. However, relying only on behavioral interventions that aim to reduce HIV risk behavior will most likely not have a population-level effect on HIV infection among black MSM. There is a compelling and urgent need to develop and test comprehensive HIV testing, linkage to care, retention in care and adherence interventions for black MSM.
PMCID: PMC3710496  PMID: 23819660
Black men who have sex with men; HIV; Implementation research; Implementation science; Evaluation
17.  Sex between men in the context of HIV: The AIDS 2008 Jonathan Mann Memorial Lecture in health and human rights 
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have been among the most affected populations by HIV since the AIDS pandemic was first identified in the 1980s. Evidence from a wide range of studies show that these men remain at the highest risk for HIV acquisition in both developed and developing countries, and that despite three decades of evidence of their vulnerability to HIV, they remain under-served and under-studied. Prevention strategies targeted to MSM are markedly under-funded in most countries, leading to limited access to health services including prevention, treatment, and care. We explore the global epidemic among MSM in 2008, the limited funding available globally to respond to these epidemics, and the human rights contexts and factors which drive HIV spread and limit HIV responses for these men.
What do we mean by the term MSM? MSM is a construct from the 1990s that tries to capture behavior and not identity. It was crafted to avoid stigmatizing and culturally laden terms such as gay or bisexual, which do not capture the wide diversity of orientations, sexual practices, cultures, and contextual settings in which male same-sex behaviors occur, and where HIV transmission and acquisition risks are centered. MSM includes both gay and non-gay identified men, bisexual men, and MSM who identify themselves as heterosexuals. It also includes men engaging in "situational" sex between men, such as can occur in prisons, schools, militaries or other environments; and it includes male sex workers who may be of any orientation but are often at very high risk for HIV. MSM may include some biologically male transgender persons, though some do not identify as male. And MSM includes a wide array of traditional and local terms worldwide–with enormous cultural diversity in Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. We use the term MSM here at its most inclusive.
PMCID: PMC2631526  PMID: 19108725
18.  Acceptability and intended usage preferences for six HIV testing options among internet-using men who have sex with men 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:109.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately impacted by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic in the United States (US). Testing for HIV is the cornerstone of comprehensive prevention efforts and the gateway to early engagement of infected individuals in medical care. We sought to determine attitudes towards six different HIV testing modalities presented collectively to internet-using MSM and identify which options rank higher than others in terms of intended usage preference.
Between October and November 2012, we surveyed 973 HIV-negative or -unknown status MSM and assessed their acceptability of each of the following services hypothetically offered free of charge: Testing at a physician’s office; Individual voluntary counseling and testing (VCT); Couples’ HIV counseling and testing (CHCT); Expedited/express testing; Rapid home self-testing using an oral fluid test; Home dried blood spot (DBS) specimen self-collection for laboratory testing. Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to determine whether the stated likelihood of using each of these modalities differed by selected respondent characteristics. Men were also asked to rank these options in order of intended usage preference, and consensual rankings were determined using the modified Borda count (MBC) method.
Most participants reported being extremely likely or somewhat likely to use all HIV testing modalities except DBS self-collection for laboratory testing. Younger MSM indicated greater acceptability for expedited/express testing (P < 0.001), and MSM with lower educational levels reported being more likely to use CHCT (P < 0.001). Non-Hispanic black MSM indicated lower acceptability for VCT (P < 0.001). Rapid home self-testing using an oral fluid test and testing at a physician’s office were the two most preferred options across all demographic and behavioral strata.
Novel approaches to increase the frequency of HIV testing among US MSM are urgently needed. Combination testing packages could enable high risk MSM in putting together annual testing strategies personalized to their circumstances, and warrant due consideration as an element of combination HIV prevention packages.
PMCID: PMC3942559  PMID: 24600551
HIV testing preferences; Internet-using men who have sex with men; Combination prevention approaches; Rapid home HIV self-testing
19.  Challenges in Providing Counselling to MSM in Highly Stigmatized Contexts: Results of a Qualitative Study from Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e64527.
The role of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the African HIV epidemic is gaining recognition yet capacity to address the HIV prevention needs of this group is limited. HIV testing and counselling is not only a critical entry point for biomedical HIV prevention interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, rectal microbicides and early treatment initiation, but is also an opportunity for focused risk reduction counselling that can support individuals living in difficult circumstances. For prevention efforts to succeed, however, MSM need to access services and they will only do so if these are non-judgmental, informative, focused on their needs, and of clear benefit. This study aimed to understand Kenyan providers' attitudes towards and experiences with counselling MSM in a research clinic targeting this group for HIV prevention. We used in-depth interviews to explore values, attitudes and cognitive and social constructs of 13 counsellors and 3 clinicians providing services to MSM at this clinic. Service providers felt that despite their growing experience, more targeted training would have been helpful to improve their effectiveness in MSM-specific risk reduction counselling. They wanted greater familiarity with MSM in Kenya to better understand the root causes of MSM risk-taking (e.g., poverty, sex work, substance abuse, misconceptions about transmission, stigma, and sexual desire) and felt frustrated at the perceived intractability of some of their clients' issues. In addition, they identified training needs on how to question men about specific risk behaviours, improved strategies for negotiating risk reduction with counselling clients, and improved support supervision from senior counsellors. This paper describes the themes arising from these interviews and makes practical recommendations on training and support supervision systems for nascent MSM HIV prevention programmes in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3676420  PMID: 23762241
20.  HIV Infection and Awareness among Men Who Have Sex with Men–20 Cities, United States, 2008 and 2011 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76878.
Over half of HIV infections in the United States occur among men who have sex with men (MSM). Awareness of infection is a necessary precursor to antiretroviral treatment and risk reduction among HIV-infected persons. We report data on prevalence and awareness of HIV infection among MSM in 2008 and 2011, using data from 20 cities participating in the 2008 and 2011 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) among MSM. Venue-based, time-space sampling was used to recruit men for interview and HIV testing. We analyzed data for men who reported ≥1 male sex partner in the past 12 months. Participants who tested positive were considered to be aware of their infection if they reported a prior positive HIV test. We used multivariable analysis to examine differences between results from 2011 vs. 2008. HIV prevalence was 19% in 2008 and 18% in 2011 (p = 0.14). In both years, HIV prevalence was highest among older age groups, blacks, and men with lower education and income. In multivariable analysis, HIV prevalence did not change significantly from 2008 to 2011 overall (p = 0.51) or in any age or racial/ethnic category (p>0.15 in each category). Among those testing positive, a greater proportion was aware of their infection in 2011 (66%) than in 2008 (56%) (p<0.001). In both years, HIV awareness was higher for older age groups, whites, and men with higher education and income. In multivariable analysis, HIV awareness increased from 2008 to 2011 overall (p<0.001) and for all age and racial/ethnic categories (p<0.01 in each category). In both years, black MSM had the highest HIV prevalence and the lowest awareness among racial/ethnic groups. These findings suggest that HIV-positive MSM are increasingly aware of their infections.
PMCID: PMC3806782  PMID: 24194848
21.  HIV Risk and Perceptions of Masculinity among Young Black MSM 
The Journal of Adolescent Health  2011;50(3):296-303.
Young Black men who have sex with men (MSM) have among the highest rates of HIV infection in the US. Although reported rates of unprotected anal intercourse are similar to MSM of other racial/ethnic backgrounds, young Black MSM (YBMSM) aged 15–22 are 5 times more likely than comparably aged white MSM to be HIV-infected. We explored contextual social-environmental factors that may influence how YBMSM assess risk, choose partners, and make decisions about condom use.
We analyzed semi-structured interviews with 35 YBMSM (18–24) in New York City, upstate NY, and Atlanta. We used structured analytic coding based on a theoretical scheme that emerged from the data.
Perception of masculinity was the primary contextual factor influencing partner selection, risk assessment, and condom decision-making. Four primary themes emerged: 1) greater preference for partners perceived as masculine; 2) discomfort with allowing men perceived as feminine to be the insertive partner in anal intercourse; 3) a power dynamic such that partners perceived as more masculine made condom-use decisions within the dyad; and 4) use of potential partners’ perceived masculinity to assess HIV risk.
Perceived masculinity may play a significant role in HIV risk for YBMSM and may be an important concept to consider in prevention strategies directed towards this population.
PMCID: PMC3281559  PMID: 22325136
Black/African American; men who have sex with men (MSM); young adult/adolescent; masculinity; HIV/AIDS; prevention heuristics; sexual risk behavior; HIV risk
22.  Drug and Sexual Risk in Four Men Who Have Sex with Men Populations: Evidence for a Sustained HIV Epidemic in New York City 
The objective of this article was to examine drug and sexual risk in four salient groups of men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City (NYC): (1) nonhomeless young MSM (YMSM), (2) homeless YMSM, (3) adult MSM Speed users, and (4) HIV-positive “POZ Party” MSM. Lifetime and current exposure to drugs, drug injection, and selected drug–sex interactions are highlighted in each group. Data derive from recently completed field-based, ethnoepidemiological studies that used venue-oriented/targeted sampling and semistructured interviews. Across all four groups, findings show that both drug and sexual risk remain prevalent in the MSM population in NYC. This is especially troubling given the already high background prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in NYC and the widespread suffering and death already wrought by HIV/AIDS among MSM. These findings suggest that available public health interventions today are, in many respects, failing to reach, engage, and affect critical risk groups within the NYC MSM population.
PMCID: PMC2718757  PMID: 15738325
Drug abuse; HIV; MSM; Sexual risk
23.  Drug and sexual risk in four men who have sex with men populations: Evidence for a sustained HIV epidemic in New York City 
The objective of this article was to examine drug and sexual risk in four salient groups of men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City (NYC): (1) nonhomeless young MSM (YMSM), (2) homeless YMSM, (3) adult MSM Speed users, and (4) HIV-positive “POZ Party” MSM. Lifetime and current exposure to drugs, drug injection, and selected drug-sex interactions are highlighted in each group. Data derive from recently completed field-based, ethnoepidemiological studies that used venue-oriented/targeted sampling and semistructured interviews. Across all four groups, findings show that both drug and sexual risk remain prevalent in the MSM population in NYC. This is especially troubling given the already high background prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in NYC and the widespread suffering and death already wrought by HIV/AIDS among MSM. These findings suggest that available public health interventions today are, in many respects, failing to reach, engage, and affect critical risk groups within the NYC MSM population.
PMCID: PMC2718757  PMID: 15738325
Drug abuse; HIV; MSM; Sexual risk
Journal of community psychology  2011;39(6):717-732.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) represent more than half of all new HIV infections in the United States. Utilizing a collaborative, community based approach, a brief risk reduction intervention was developed and pilot tested among newly HIV-diagnosed MSM receiving HIV care in a primary care setting. Sixty-five men, within 3 months of diagnosis, were randomly assigned to the experimental condition or control condition and assessed at baseline, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up. Effect sizes were calculated to explore differences between conditions and over time. Results demonstrated the potential effectiveness of the intervention in reducing risk behavior, improving mental health, and increasing use of ancillary services. Process evaluation data demonstrated the acceptability of the intervention to patients, clinic staff, and administration. The results provide evidence that a brief intervention can be successfully integrated into HIV care services for newly diagnosed MSM and should be evaluated for efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3249751  PMID: 22228917
25.  Low Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Antibody in Men Who Have Sex with Men Who Do Not Inject Drugs 
Public Health Reports  2007;122(Suppl 2):63-67.
It is well documented that injection drug users (IDUs) have a high prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV). Sexual transmission of HCV can occur, but studies have shown that men who have sex with men (MSM) without a history of injection drug use are not at increased risk for infection. Still, some health-care providers believe that all MSM should be routinely tested for HCV infection. To better understand the potential role of MSM in risk for HCV infection, we compared the prevalence of antibody to HCV (anti-HCV) in non-IDU MSM with that among other non-IDU n at sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling and testing sites in three cities.
During 1999–2003, public health STD clinics or HIV testing programs in Seattle, San Diego, and New York City offered counseling and testing for anti-HCV for varying periods to all clients. Sera were tested using enzyme immunoassays, and final results reported using either the signal-to-cutoff ratio or recombinant immunoblot assay results. Age, sex, and risk information were collected. Prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Anti-HCV prevalence among IDUs (men and women) was between 47% and 57% at each site, with an overall prevalence of 51% (451/887). Of 1,699 non-IDU MSM, 26 (1.5%) tested anti-HCV positive, compared with 126 (3.6%) of 3,455 other non-IDU men (prevalence ratio 0.42, 95% confidence interval 0.28, 0.64).
The low prevalence of anti-HCV among non-IDU MSM in urban public health clinics does not support routine HCV testing of all MSM.
PMCID: PMC1831798  PMID: 17542456

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