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1.  Self-perceived HIV risk and the use of risk reduction strategies among men who engage in transactional sex with other men in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 
AIDS care  2012;25(8):1039-1044.
An emerging HIV epidemic can be seen among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam, with prevalence as high as 18%. Transactional sex represents a risk factor for HIV transmission/acquisition among MSM globally, particularly in urban contexts, but remains largely underinvestigated in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. In 2010, 23 MSM who reported exchanging sex for money in the last month completed a brief survey and semistructured qualitative interview at The Life Centre, a non-governmental organization in HCMC, to assess sociodemographics, individual- and structural-level HIV risk factors and explore acceptable future prevention interventions. Participants’ mean age was 24 years. Equal proportions of respondents self-identified as heterosexual/straight, homosexual/gay, and bisexual. Participants had a mean of 158 male clients in the past year, with a median of 60 male clients in the past year (interquartile range [IQR]=70) and reported inconsistent condom use and inaccurate perceptions of HIV risk. Nearly half of the sample reported engaging in unprotected anal sex with a male partner in the past 12 months and one-third with a male client. Major themes that emerged for HIV prevention interventions with male sex workers were those that: (1) focused on individual factors (drug and alcohol use, barriers to condom use, knowledge of asymptomatic STIs, enhancement of behavioral risk-reduction skills, and addressing concomitant mental health issues); (2) incorporated interpersonal and relational contexts (led by peer educators, built interpersonal skills, attended to partner type and intimacy dynamics); and (3) considered the exogenous environments in which individual choices/relationships operate (stigma of being MSM in Vietnam, availability of alternative economic opportunities, and varied sexual venues). HIV prevention efforts are needed that address the specific needs of MSM who engage in transactional sex in HCMC. Universally, MSM endorsed HIV prevention interventions, suggesting a need and desire for efforts in this context.
PMCID: PMC3700653  PMID: 23252673
HIV; Vietnam; prevention; male sex workers; transactional sex
2.  Sexual relationships among men who have sex with men in Hanoi, Vietnam: a qualitative interview study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:108.
The prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam’s two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, may be above 10%. The aim of this study was to explore sexual relationship patterns and experiences among MSM in Hanoi, to inform HIV preventive efforts. Using purposive sampling we recruited 17 MSM in Hanoi, Vietnam, for in-depth interviews. Participants were aged between 19 and 48 years and came from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and translated into English. Content analysis was used.
Almost all men in the study saw their same-sex attraction as part of their "nature". Many informants had secret but rich social lives within the MSM social circles in Hanoi. However, poor men had difficulties connecting to these networks. Lifetime sexual partner numbers ranged from one to 200. Seven participants had at some point in their lives been in relationships lasting from one to four years. For several men, relationships were not primarily centered on romantic feelings but instead intimately connected to economic and practical dependence. Sexual relationships varied greatly in terms of emotional attachment, commitment, trust, relationship ideals, sexual satisfaction and exchange of money or gifts. Faithfulness was highly valued but largely seen as unobtainable. Several informants felt strong family pressure to marry a woman and have children.
This study contextualizes sexual relationships among MSM in Hanoi and highlights the extent to which HIV prevention activities need to not only consider HIV prevention in the context of casual sexual encounters but also how to adequately target preventive efforts that can reach MSM in relationships.
PMCID: PMC3621603  PMID: 23384277
Rapid socioeconomic transformation in Vietnam in last 15 years has been followed by more liberation of sexual expression and representation of sexual identity among young people. There has been an increase in the visibility of homosexual men in major cities of Vietnam who were largely an unknown population until the emergence of the HIV epidemic. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are now considered as one of the target groups in many HIV prevention programs. This qualitative study examines local identities, relationships, and sexual practices among young MSM aged 15–24 in the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Our analyses were based on 26 in-depth interviews and 10 focus group discussions with young MSM recruited through public place intercepts and cruising areas. Data document the linguistic classification, sexual relationships and behaviors, identity and process of homosexual identification, and the potential linkage between sexual identity and sexual behaviors of MSM in Vietnam. Data also highlight the stages of homosexual community development in urban Vietnam and important differences between Vietnam and the West in the representation of homosexual identity, relationships, and practices. In light of the findings, we suggest that the continuing development and elaboration of a homosexual community in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offers significant opportunities for targeted HIV/AIDS prevention activities in the Vietnamese MSM population.
PMCID: PMC2862473  PMID: 19519239
4.  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
5.  Men Who Have Sex with Men and Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Sexually Transmitted Disease Control in China 
Cell research  2005;15(11-12):858-864.
To address the role of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/sexually transmitted disease (STD) epidemic in China.
To explore the prevalence of risky sexual behaviors and the existing prevention efforts among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China.
Study Design:
Review of behavioral and STD/HIV prevention studies addressing MSM in China.
Sexual risk behaviors including unprotected group sex, anal sex, casual sex, and commercial sex were prevalent among Chinese MSM. Many Chinese MSM also engaged in unprotected sex with both men and women. Most MSM either did not perceive that they were at risk of HIV/AIDS or underestimated their risk of infection. Surveillance and intervention research among these men are still in the preliminary stages.
Chinese MSM are at risk for HIV/STD infection and potential transmission of HIV to the general population. In addition to sexual risk reduction among MSM, reduction of homosexualityrelated stigma should be part of effective intervention efforts. Volunteers from the MSM community and health care workers in primary health care system may serve as valuable resources for HIV/STD prevention and control among MSM.
PMCID: PMC1791010  PMID: 16354560
6.  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
7.  Correlates of Forced Sex Among Populations of Men Who Have Sex with Men in Thailand 
Archives of sexual behavior  2009;40(2):259-266.
Although forced sex is a correlate of HIV infection, its prevalence and associated risks are not well described among men who have sex with men (MSM) in developing-country settings. Between March and October 2005, we assessed the prevalence of forced sex and correlates among populations of MSM (this includes general MSM, male sex workers, and male-to-female transgender persons) in Thailand using a community-based sample. Participants were enrolled from venues around Bangkok, Chiangmai, and Phuket using venue day-time sampling. Handheld computer-assisted self-interviewing was used to collect demographic and behavioral data and logistic regression evaluated factors associated with forced sex, defined as ever being forced to have sexual intercourse against one’s will. Of the 2,049 participants (M age, 24.8 years), a history of forced sex was reported by 376 (18.4%) men and, of these, most were forced by someone they knew (83.8%), forced more than once (67.3%), and had first occurrence during adolescence (55.1%). In multivariate analysis, having a history of forced sex was significantly associated with being recruited in Phuket, classification as general MSM or transgender (versus classification as male sex worker), drug use, increased number of male sexual partners, and buying sex. The findings in our assessment were consistent with assessments from Western countries. Longitudinal studies are needed to understand the mechanisms of the relationships between forced sex correlates found in our assessment and HIV acquisition and transmission risks.
PMCID: PMC3118408  PMID: 19830540
Sexual coercion; Men who have sex with men; Male sex workers; Transgender; Thailand
8.  Factors Associated with Unprotected Anal Intercourse among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Liaoning Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50493.
HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) has increased rapidly. MSM may play a bridging role in the spread of HIV and other STDs from the high-risk population to the general population. Interventions to reduce high-risk behavior are the key to controlling the spreading of HIV in the MSM population and the primary strategy for reducing the spread of AIDS in China. The purpose of the study was to examine the demographic characteristics of MSM, evaluate the HIV-related knowledge of MSM, and identify factors associated with unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) among MSM to make recommendations for future research.
Methodology/Principal Finding
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 293 MSM in Fushun and Huludao City, China. A total of 91 participants (34.0%) reported engagement in UAI with a male partner during the previous six months. The results of univariate analysis showed that UAI was associated with older age, lower levels of education, less knowledge about HIV, and not receiving condoms, lubricant, peer education, AIDS counseling, STD checks, and informational materials (p<0.05). In a multivariate logistic regression model, awareness of the major HIV transmission routes (OR = 2.191; 95% CI: 0.869 to 5.524), receiving condoms (OR = 2.164; 95% CI: 1.149 to 4.076), receiving peer education (OR = 2.632; 95% CI: 1.566 to 4.426), and AIDS counseling (OR = 2.347; 95% CI: 1.260 to 4.372) were independently associated with a lower risk of UAI.
The study suggested that UAI could be decreased by improving education about AIDS, increasing the promotion of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), and improving the accessibility and convenience of service.
PMCID: PMC3507786  PMID: 23209757
9.  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
10.  HIV, syphilis and sexual risk behaviours among men who have sex with men in Agadir and Marrakesh, Morocco 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2013;89(Suppl 3):iii45-iii48.
To collect baseline measurements of HIV and syphilis prevalence and sexual risk behaviours among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Agadir and Marrakech, Morocco, and provide strategic information to improve outreach programmes.
Methods and Design
Respondent-driven sampling was used to recruit men who reported having anal sex with another man in the last 6 months, aged 18 years and older and living in either Agadir or Marrakech for the past 6 months, regardless of nationality. Data were analysed with the multiplicity estimator using respondent-driven sampling analysis tool V.6.0.
323 MSM in Agadir and 346 in Marrakech were recruited into the survey. Most MSM in both cities reported being < 25 years, being unemployed, bisexual and in a couple with both a man and a woman. Most reported selling sex and having sex with women. HIV prevalence was 5.6% in Agadir and 2.8% in Marrakesh; syphilis was 7.0% in Agadir and 10.8% in Marrakesh. Among MSM who tested positive for HIV, 31.6% in Agadir and 56.4% in Marrakesh were co-infected with syphilis.
HIV and syphilis findings coupled with high risk activities indicate the need for expanding programmes targeting MSM throughout Morocco. Selling sex and sex with women may be a strategy to cope with extreme stigma towards MSM. Criminalisation and discrimination of MSM in Morocco underscores the urgent need for long-term and sustainable risk reduction through legal reforms and promotion and protection of human rights.
PMCID: PMC3841752  PMID: 23620132
Homosexuality; Hiv; Sexual Behaviour; Surveillance
11.  Associations between Methamphetamine Use and HIV among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Model for Guiding Public Policy 
Among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County, methamphetamine use is associated with high rates of HIV prevalence and sexual risk behaviors. In four separate samples of MSM who differed in the range of their intensity of methamphetamine use, from levels of recreational use to chronic use to those for MSM seeking drug abuse treatment, the association between methamphetamine use and HIV infection increased as the intensity of use increased. The lowest HIV prevalence rate (23%) was observed among MSM contacted through street outreach who mentioned recent methamphetamine use, followed by MSM who used at least once a month for six months (42%), followed by MSM seeking intensive outpatient treatment (61%). The highest rate (86%) was observed among MSM seeking residential treatment for methamphetamine dependence. The interleaving nature of these epidemics calls for comprehensive strategies that address methamphetamine use and concomitant sexual behaviors that increase risk of HIV transmission in this group already at high risk. These and other data suggest that MSM who infrequently use methamphetamine may respond to lower intensity/lower cost prevention and early intervention programs while those who use the drug at dependence levels may benefit from high intensity treatment to achieve goals of reduced drug use and HIV-risk sexual behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3261283  PMID: 17111217
Methamphetamine; HIV; MSM.
12.  Knowledge and risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS, and their association with information resource among men who have sex with men in Heilongjiang province, China 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:250.
In Heilongjiang province, the HIV prevalence in men who have sex with men (MSM) is generally lower than other part of China. However, the official perception for their risk of HIV/AIDS infection has been increasing in the province over the years. Moreover, little information on HIV/AIDS was provided to the communities so that we have disadvantage of controlling HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region. The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence of HIV among MSM in Heilongjiang province, to assess their knowledge levels and risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS, and to explore their associations with information resources.
A cross-sectional study using a standardized questionnaire and blood test was administered in 2008 by local interviewers to a sample (1353) of MSM in four cities in Heilongjiang province.
Among 1353 MSM, 2.3% were identified with HIV infection. About 48.7% of the subjects had multiple male sexual partners and only 37.3% of the subjects had consistent condom use (use every time) in the past 6 months. Most had a fair level of knowledge on HIV/AIDS, with the highest mean knowledge score among the MSM from Jiamusi, those with income 2000-3000 RMB/month, those searching sexual partners via internet and those performed HIV testing over 1 year ago). However, some myths regarding viral transmission (e.g., via mosquito bites or sharing kitchen utensils) also existed. Resources of information from which knowledge and risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS was most available were television (58.6%) among MSM, followed by sexual partner (51.6%), publicity material (51.0%) and internet (48.7%). Significantly statistical differences of mean knowledge score were revealed in favor of book (P = 0.0002), medical staff (P = 0.0007), publicity material (P = 0.005) and sexual partner (P = 0.02). Press (P = 0.04) and book (P = 0.0003) were contributory to the most frequent condom use (condom use every time), while medical staff (P = 0.005) and publicity material (P = 0.04) is associated with moderate rate of condom use (condom use often).
Although the prevalence of HIV infection is low among MSM in Heilongjiang province, the situation that the risk behaviors were frequent in the population is alarming. The study suggests that some strategies like condom use and education intervention are practical approaches and need to be strengthened.
PMCID: PMC2885333  PMID: 20470385
13.  Internet-Based Methods May Reach Higher-Risk Men who have Sex with Men Not Reached Through Venue-Based Sampling§ 
The Open AIDS Journal  2012;6:83-89.
Internet-based sampling methods may reach men who have sex with men (MSM) who don’t attend physical venues frequented by MSM and may be at higher risk of HIV infection.
Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine characteristics of adult MSM participants in 2 studies conducted in the same 5 U.S. cities: the 2003-2005 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) which used sampling from physical MSM venues (e.g., bars, clubs) and the 2007 Web-based HIV Behavioral Surveillance (WHBS) pilot which used sampling through online banner advertisements.
Among 5024 WHBS MSM, 95% attended a physical MSM venue in the past 12 months, and 75% attended weekly. WHBS MSM who were black, aged 18-21 years, not college educated, bisexual- or heterosexual-identifying, and reported unknown HIV serostatus were less likely to have attended a physical MSM venue in the past 12 months (all p<0.01). Compared to NHBS MSM, WHBS MSM were more likely to be white, younger, college-educated, report unknown HIV serostatus, report unprotected anal intercourse with a casual partner, and have first met that partner online (all p<0.0001). WHBS MSM were less likely to have been under the influence of drugs during most recent sex (p=0.01) or not know their sex partner’s HIV serostatus (p<0.0001).
Many MSM recruited online also attended physical venues, but attendance varied by sub-group. Participants in WHBS and NHBS differed, and WHBS may represent a group of MSM at higher risk of HIV infection. These findings suggest that an internet-based method may be a useful supplement to NHBS.
PMCID: PMC3462429  PMID: 23049657
MSM; HIV; internet; gay; sex.
14.  HIV Infection and Testing among Latino Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States: The Role of Location of Birth and Other Social Determinants 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73779.
In the United States, Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV. Latino MSM are a diverse group who differ culturally based on their countries or regions of birth and their time in the United States. We assessed differences in HIV prevalence and testing among Latino MSM by location of birth, time since arrival, and other social determinants of health.
For the 2008 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System, a cross-sectional survey conducted in large US cities, MSM were interviewed and tested for HIV infection. We used generalized estimating equations to test associations between various factors and 1) prevalent HIV infection and 2) being tested for HIV infection in the past 12 months.
Among 1734 Latino MSM, HIV prevalence was 19%. In multivariable analysis, increasing age, low income, and gay identity were associated with HIV infection. Moreover, men who were U.S.-born or who arrived ≥5 years ago had significantly higher HIV prevalence than recent immigrants. Among men not reporting a previous positive HIV test, 63% had been tested for HIV infection in the past 12 months; recent testing was most strongly associated with having seen a health care provider and disclosing male-male attraction/sexual behavior to a health care provider.
We identified several social determinants of health associated with HIV infection and testing among Latino MSM. Lower HIV prevalence among recent immigrants contrasts with higher prevalence among established immigrants and suggests a critical window of opportunity for HIV prevention, which should prioritize those with low income, who are at particular risk for HIV infection. Expanding health care utilization and encouraging communication with health care providers about sexual orientation may increase testing.
PMCID: PMC3797879  PMID: 24147151
15.  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
16.  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
17.  Promoting the Sexual Health of MSM in the Context of Comorbid Mental Health Problems 
AIDS and behavior  2011;15(0 1):S30-S34.
Despite the moderate efficacy of HIV prevention interventions for at risk gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), MSM continue to represent the largest group of new HIV infections and the largest number of individuals living with HIV in the US. Environmental factors such as sexual minority stress increase the vulnerability of MSM for mental health problems. These mental health problems can be a barrier to consistently engaging in self-care health behaviors such as sexual risk reduction. We consider the following observations critical to identifying priorities for HIV prevention among MSM: (1) gay, bisexual and other MSM have higher rates of mental health problems than general population estimates; (2) these mental health problems co-occur with each other and interact synergistically to increase HIV risk; and (3) comorbid mental health problems may compromise the impact of prevention programs, and integrating treatment of mental health issues into prevention programs may improve program efficacy. Novel prevention interventions for at risk MSM that integrate programming with the treatment of co-occurring and interfering mental health issues are the most promising avenue to increase prevention intervention efficacy and effectiveness. By addressing significant mental health issues and supporting broad based prevention efforts at the individual and community level, there is also the potential to improve the overall quality of life and public mental health of gay, bisexual, and other MSM.
PMCID: PMC3610408  PMID: 21331799
Men who have sex with men; MSM; Syndemics; HIV prevention; Mental health
18.  Street Workers and Internet Escorts: Contextual and Psychosocial Factors Surrounding HIV Risk Behavior among Men Who Engage in Sex Work with Other Men 
Sex work has been associated with elevated risk for HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) in many settings. This mixed methods study examined sexual risk among MSM sex workers in Massachusetts, collecting formative data on HIV risk behavior by sex worker type in order to gain a better understanding of how to tailor prevention interventions to this unique and high-risk subgroup of MSM. Two groups of MSM sex workers were recruited between January and March 2008: street workers (n = 19) and internet escorts (n = 13). Participants completed a semistructured qualitative interview and quantitative psychosocial assessment battery; interviews were conducted until redundancy in responses was achieved. Almost one third (31%) were HIV-infected. The majority of participants (69%) reported at least one episode of unprotected serodiscordant anal sex (either insertive or receptive) with a mean of 10.7 (SD = 42.2) male sex partners of an unknown or different HIV serostatus in the past 12 months. Salient findings included: (a) internet sex workers reported being paid substantially more for sex than street sex workers; (b) inconsistent condom use, high rates of unprotected sex, and low rates of HIV status disclosure with sex work partners for both internet and street workers; general perceptions of a lack of trust on the part of sex work partners (i.e., telling them what they want to hear), offers of more money for unprotected sex; (c) contextual differences in risk taking: internet sex workers reported that they are more likely to engage in sexual risk-taking with noncommercial sex partners than sex partners who pay; (d) HIV status and STI history: two street workers became infected in the context of sex work, and 25% of the entire sample had never been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI); and (e) motivations and reasons for doing sex work, such as the “lucrativeness” of sex work, as a means to obtain drugs, excitement, power, “why not?” attitude, and because social norms modeled this behavior. Study findings can be used to generate hypotheses for designing and providing tailored primary and secondary prevention interventions for this at-risk subgroup of MSM.
PMCID: PMC2629521  PMID: 18780186
MSM; Sex work; HIV; STI; Intervention development
19.  A comparison of sexual behavior patterns among men who have sex with men and heterosexual men and women 
Men who have sex with men (MSM) have higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) than women and heterosexual men. This elevated risk persists across age groups and reflects biological and behavioral factors, yet there have been few direct comparisons of sexual behavior patterns between these populations.
We compared sexual behavior patterns of MSM and male and female heterosexuals aged 18–39 using 4 population-based random digit dialing surveys. A 1996–1998 survey in 4 U.S. cities and 2 Seattle surveys (2003, 2006) provided estimates for MSM; a 2003–2004 Seattle survey provided data about heterosexual men and women.
Sexual debut occurred earlier among MSM than heterosexuals. MSM reported longer cumulative lifetime periods of new partner acquisition than heterosexuals, and a more gradual decline in new partnership formation with age. Among MSM, 86% of 18–24 year olds and 72% of 35–39 year olds formed a new partnership during the prior year, compared to 56% of heterosexual men and 34% of women at ages 18–24, and 21% and 10%, respectively, at ages 35–39. MSM were also more likely to choose partners >5 years older and were 2–3 times as likely as heterosexuals to report recent concurrent partnerships. MSM reported more consistent condom use during anal sex than heterosexuals reported during vaginal sex.
MSM have longer periods of partnership acquisition, a higher prevalence of partnership concurrency, and more age-disassortative mixing than heterosexuals. These factors likely help explain higher HIV/STI rates among MSM, despite higher levels of condom use.
PMCID: PMC3334840  PMID: 22522237
men who have sex with men; heterosexuals; sexual behavior; HIV; STI
20.  Disparities and Risks of Sexually Transmissible Infections among Men Who Have Sex with Men in China: A Meta-Analysis and Data Synthesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89959.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Hepatitis B and C virus, are emerging public health risks in China, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study aims to assess the magnitude and risks of STIs among Chinese MSM.
Chinese and English peer-reviewed articles were searched in five electronic databases from January 2000 to February 2013. Pooled prevalence estimates for each STI infection were calculated using meta-analysis. Infection risks of STIs in MSM, HIV-positive MSM and male sex workers (MSW) were obtained. This review followed the PRISMA guidelines and was registered in PROSPERO.
Eighty-eight articles (11 in English and 77 in Chinese) investigating 35,203 MSM in 28 provinces were included in this review. The prevalence levels of STIs among MSM were 6.3% (95% CI: 3.5–11.0%) for chlamydia, 1.5% (0.7–2.9%) for genital wart, 1.9% (1.3–2.7%) for gonorrhoea, 8.9% (7.8–10.2%) for hepatitis B (HBV), 1.2% (1.0–1.6%) for hepatitis C (HCV), 66.3% (57.4–74.1%) for human papillomavirus (HPV), 10.6% (6.2–17.6%) for herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) and 4.3% (3.2–5.8%) for Ureaplasma urealyticum. HIV-positive MSM have consistently higher odds of all these infections than the broader MSM population. As a subgroup of MSM, MSW were 2.5 (1.4–4.7), 5.7 (2.7–12.3), and 2.2 (1.4–3.7) times more likely to be infected with chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HCV than the broader MSM population, respectively.
Prevalence levels of STIs among MSW were significantly higher than the broader MSM population. Co-infection of HIV and STIs were prevalent among Chinese MSM. Integration of HIV and STIs healthcare and surveillance systems is essential in providing effective HIV/STIs preventive measures and treatments.
Trial Registration
PROSPERO No: CRD42013003721
PMCID: PMC3933676  PMID: 24587152
21.  Migration, Neighborhoods, and Networks: Approaches to Understanding How Urban Environmental Conditions Affect Syndemic Adverse Health Outcomes Among Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men 
AIDS and behavior  2011;15(Suppl 1):S35-S50.
Adopting socioecological, intersectionality, and lifecourse theoretical frameworks may enhance our understanding of the production of syndemic adverse health outcomes among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM). From this perspective, we present preliminary data from three related studies that suggest ways in which social contexts may influence the health of MSM. The first study, using cross-sectional data, looked at migration of MSM to the gay resort area of South Florida, and found that amount of time lived in the area was associated with risk behaviors and HIV infection. The second study, using qualitative interviews, observed complex interactions between neighborhood-level social environments and individual-level racial and sexual identity among MSM in New York City. The third study, using egocentric network analysis with a sample of African American MSM in Baltimore, found that sexual partners were more likely to be found through face-to-face means than the Internet. They also observed that those who co-resided with a sex partner had larger networks of people to depend on for social and financial support, but had the same size sexual networks as those who did not live with a partner. Overall, these findings suggest the need for further investigation into the role of macro-level social forces on the emotional, behavioral, and physical health of urban MSM.
PMCID: PMC3084486  PMID: 21369730
Homosexuality; Male; Urban health; Social environment
22.  HIV Incidence, Risk Factors, and Motivation for Biomedical Intervention among Gay, Bisexual Men, and Transgender Persons in Northern Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24295.
HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) persons is high and increasing in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.
To describe demographic, socioeconomic, sexual behavior and interest in future HIV prevention trials among gay and bisexual MSM and TG presenting for HIV testing (VCT) and pre-screening for the iPrEx pre-exposure chemoprophylaxis trail.
In 2008–09, MSM/TG participants attending VCT were interviewed and tested for HIV and STI. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were done to assess associations with HIV infection.
A total of 551 MSM clients (56.1% gay, 25.4% TG, and 18.5% bisexual (BS)) were enrolled. The mean age was 23.9 years. HIV prevalence among MSM overall was 12.9% (71/551); 16.5% among gay men, 9.3% among TG, and 6.9% among BS. Consistent use of condom was low, 33.3% in insertive anal sex and 31.9% in receptive anal sex. Interest in participation was high, 86.3% for PrEP, 69.7% for HIV vaccine trials, but 29.9% for circumcision. HIV was independently associated with being gay identified, aOR 2.8, p = 0.037 and with being aged 25–29, aOR 2.7, p = 0.027. Among repeat testers, HIV incidence was 8.2/100 PY, 95% CI, 3.7/100PY to 18.3/100PY.
HIV risks and rates varied by self-reported sexual orientation and gender identity. HIV was associated with sexual practices, age, and being gay-identified. These are populations are in need of novel prevention strategies and willing to participate in prevention research.
PMCID: PMC3169571  PMID: 21931673
23.  Stigma, social inequality, and HIV risk disclosure among Dominican male sex workers☆ 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2008;67(3):380-388.
Some quantitative behavioral studies in the USA have concluded that bisexually behaving Latino men are less likely than White men to disclose to their female partners that they have engaged in same-sex risk behavior and/or are HIV-positive, presumably exposing female partners to elevated risk for HIV infection. Nevertheless, very little theoretical or empirical research has been conducted to understand the social factors that promote or inhibit sexual risk disclosure among Latino men who have sex with men (MSM), and much of the existing literature has neglected to contextualize disclosure patterns within broader experiences of stigma and social inequality. This paper examines decisions about disclosure of sex work, same-sex behavior, and sexual risk for HIV among male sex workers in two cities in the Dominican Republic. Data derive from long-term ethnography and qualitative in-depth interviews with 72 male sex workers were used to analyze the relationships among experiences of stigma, social inequality, and patterns of sexual risk disclosure. Thematic analysis of interviews and ethnographic evidence revealed a wide range of stigma management techniques utilized by sex workers to minimize the effects of marginality due to their engagement in homosexuality and sex work. These techniques imposed severe constraints on men’s sexual risk disclosure, and potentially elevated their own and their female partners’ vulnerability to HIV infection. Based on the study’s findings, we conclude that future studies of sexual risk disclosure among ethnic minority MSM should avoid analyzing disclosure as a decontextualized variable, and should seek to examine sexual risk communication as a dynamic social process constrained by hierarchical systems of power and inequality.
PMCID: PMC2928563  PMID: 18410986
Bisexuality; HIV/AIDS; Sexual risk disclosure; Stigma; Male sex work; Dominican Republic; Social inequality
24.  HIV, syphilis infection, and sexual practices among transgenders, male sex workers, and other men who have sex with men in Jakarta, Indonesia 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2004;80(6):536-540.
Objectives: To establish the prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and sexual risk behaviour among three groups of men who have sex with men in Jakarta, Indonesia, and to investigate sexual links between these men and broader heterosexual populations.
Methods: Anonymous, cross sectional surveys among community recruited transgender and male sex workers and self recognised men who have sex with men (MSM) were undertaken in mid-2002 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Places where transgender and male sex workers sell sex and where men go to meet non-commercial male sex partners were mapped. Probability samples were selected for the sex worker populations, while a mixed probability and convenience sample was drawn for self recognised MSM. Blood was drawn for HIV and syphilis serology and community interviewers administered a standardised questionnaire.
Results: HIV prevalence was 22% among transgender sex workers, 3.6% among male sex workers, and 2.5% among self recognised MSM, and syphilis prevalence was 19.3%, 2.0% and 1.1% respectively. 59.3% of transgender sex workers and 64.8% of male sex workers reported recent unprotected anal intercourse with clients, and 53.1% of other MSM reported unprotected anal sex with male partners. Some 54.4% of male sex workers and 18.3% of other MSM reported female partners in the preceding year.
Conclusion: HIV has reached substantial levels among transgender sex workers, and is not negligible in other MSM groups. Risk behaviour is high in all subpopulations, and bisexual behaviour is common, meaning the threat of a wider epidemic is substantial. Prevention programmes targeting male-male sex are needed to reduce this threat.
PMCID: PMC1744942  PMID: 15572631
25.  Bisexuality, Sexual Risk Taking, and HIV Prevalence Among Men Who Have Sex With Men Accessing Voluntary Counseling and Testing Services in Mumbai, India 
To describe sociodemographics, sexual risk behavior, and estimate HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Mumbai, India.
Eight hundred thirty-one MSM attending voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services at the Humsafar Trust, answered a behavioral questionnaire and consented for Venereal Disease Research Laboratory and HIV testing from January 2003 through December 2004. Multivariate logistic regression was performed for sociodemographics, sexual risk behavior, and STIs with HIV result as an outcome.
HIV prevalence among MSM was 12.5%. MSM who were illiterate [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.28; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08 to 4.84], married (AOR 2.70; 95% CI: 1,56 to 4.76), preferred male partners (AOR 4.68; 95% CI: 1.90 to 11.51), had partners of both genders (AOR 2.73; 95% CI: 1.03 to 7.23), presented with an STI (AOR 3.31; 95% CI: 1.96 to 5.61); or presented with a reactive venereal disease research laboratory test (AOR 4.92; 95% CI: 2.55 to 9.53) at their VCT visit were more likely to be HIV infected.
MSM accessing VCT services in Mumbai have a high risk of STI and HIV acquisition. Culturally appropriate interventions that focus on sexual risk behavior and promote condom use among MSM, particularly the bridge population of bisexual men, are needed to slow the urban Indian AIDS epidemic.
PMCID: PMC2844633  PMID: 19934765
bisexual; homosexual; India; men who have sex with men; Mumbai; voluntary counseling and testing

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