Few studies have examined the psychosocial factors associated with sexual transmission behaviors among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), heterosexual men (MSW) and women. We enrolled 1,050 sexually active HIV-positive patients at seven HIV clinics in six US cities as part of a clinic-based behavioral intervention. We describe the sexual transmission behaviors and examine demographic, clinical, psychosocial, and clinic prevention variables associated with unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse (UAVI). Twenty-three percent of MSM, 12.3% of MSW and 27.8% of women engaged in UAVI with partners perceived to be HIV-negative or of unknown serostatus. Among MSM and MSW, having multiple partners and lower self-efficacy were associated with increased odds of UAVI. Self-rating one’s health status as excellent/very good was a risk factor for UAVI among MSM. Among women, binge drinking and stressful life events were associated with UAVI. These findings identify variables that warrant attention in targeted interventions.
HIV; HIV prevention; Sexual behavior; STDs; STD prevention
Serosorting (i.e., engaging in unprotected sex with partners known to be of the same serostatus) can be a difficult process for men who have sex with men (MSM) who frequently make assumptions about their partners’ serostatus. This process can be further complicated by a partner’s dishonesty as well as other individual and contextual factors. The present study specifically examined how assumptions of serostatus made about unknown serostatus partners impact on the sexual behavior of 110 alcohol-abusing HIV-positive MSM. Although previous research has shown that HIV-positive MSM are more likely to serosort with other known HIV-positive men than with known HIV-negative men, our data suggest that unprotected sex behavior may not be specifically driven by whether or not they made assumptions of seroconcordance or serodiscordance. The types of assumptions these HIV-positive MSM made about their unknown status sexual partners and the basis for such assumptions were also examined. Owing to the ambiguities involved in assumptions of a partner’s serostatus in sexual encounters, the “unknown status” partner category is analytically distinct from “known status” categories, and needs to be more fully explored because of its impact on perceived serosorting, rather than actual serosorting, among HIV-positive men.
The purpose of the current study was to assess whether or not men who have sex with men who limit their unprotected anal sexual partners to those who are of the same HIV status (serosort) differ in their risk for HIV transmission than MSM who do not serosort.
Cross-sectional surveys administered at a large gay pride festival (80% response rate) were collected from MSM. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to identify predictors of serosorting.
Participants were self-identified as HIV negative MSM (N=628), about one third of whom engaged in serosorting (n=229). Men who serosort were more likely to believe that serosorting offered protection against HIV transmission, perceived themselves as being at no relatively higher risk for HIV transmission, and had more unprotected anal intercourse partners. Over half the sample reported their frequency of HIV testing as yearly or less frequently; this finding did not differ between serosorters and non-serosorters.
Men who identify as HIV negative and serosort are no more likely to know their HIV status than men who do not serosort and are at higher risk for exposure to HIV. Interventions targeting MSM must address the limitations of serosorting.
Seroadaptation strategies such as serosorting and seropositioning originated within communities of men who have sex with men (MSM), but there are limited data about their effectiveness in preventing HIV transmission when utilized by HIV-negative men.
Data from the EXPLORE cohort of HIV-negative MSM who reported both seroconcordant and serodiscordant partners were used to evaluate serosorting and seropositioning. The association of serosorting and seropositioning with HIV seroconversion was evaluated in this cohort of high risk MSM from six U.S. cities. Serosorting was independently associated with a small decrease in risk of HIV seroconversion (OR = 0.88; 95%CI, 0.81–0.95), even among participants reporting ≥10 partners. Those who more consistently practiced serosorting were more likely to be white (p = 0.01), have completed college (p = <0.0002) and to have had 10 or more partners in the six months before the baseline visit (p = 0.01) but did not differ in age, reporting HIV-infected partners, or drug use. There was no evidence of a seroconversion effect with seropositioning (OR 1.02, 95%CI, 0.92–1.14).
In high risk HIV uninfected MSM who report unprotected anal intercourse with both seroconcordant and serodiscordant partners, serosorting was associated with a modest decreased risk of HIV infection. To maximize any potential benefit, it will be important to increase accurate knowledge of HIV status, through increased testing frequency, improved test technology, and continued development of strategies to increase disclosure.
Selecting sex partners of the same HIV status or serosorting is a sexual risk reduction strategy used by many men who have sex with men. However, the effectiveness of serosorting for protection against HIV is potentially limited. We sought to examine how men perceive the protective benefits of factors related to serosorting including beliefs about engaging in serosorting, sexual communication, and perceptions of risk for HIV. Participants were 94 HIV negative seroconcordant (same HIV status) couples, 20 HIV serodiscordant (discrepant HIV status) couples, and 13 HIV positive seroconcordant (same HIV status) couples recruited from a large gay pride festival in the southeastern US. To account for nonindependence found in the couple-level data, we used multilevel modeling which includes dyad in the analysis. Findings demonstrated that participants in seroconcordant relationships were more likely to believe that serosorting reduces concerns for condom use. HIV negative participants in seroconcordant relationships viewed themselves at relatively low risk for HIV transmission even though monogamy within relationships and HIV testing were infrequent. Dyadic analyses demonstrated that partners have a substantial effect on an individual’s beliefs and number of unprotected sex partners. We conclude that relationship partners are an important source of influence and, thus, intervening with partners is necessary to reduce HIV transmission risks.
HIV; serosorting; MSM; dyad; multilevel modeling
HIV continues to disproportionately affect men who have sex with men (MSM). As a result of the impact of HIV among MSM, multiple strategies for reducing HIV risks have emerged from within the gay community. One common HIV risk reduction strategy is to limit unprotected sex partners to those who are of the same HIV status, or to serosort. Although serosorting is commonly practiced for risk reduction, it is closely linked to HIV transmission because of infrequent HIV testing, lack of HIV status disclosure, sexually transmitted infections, and acute HIV infection.
The current study tested a novel, brief, one-on-one, peer counselor-delivered intervention based on informed decision making, to address the limitations of serosorting. One hundred forty nine at-risk men were recruited and randomly assigned to an intervention condition addressing serosorting or a standard-of-care control.
Men in the serosorting intervention reported fewer sexual partners (Wald X2=8.79,p=<.01) at study follow-ups.
Addressing risks associated with serosorting in a feasible, low -cost intervention has the potential to significantly impact the HIV epidemic.
Serosorting is the practice of choosing sex partners or selectively using condoms based on a sex partner’s perceived HIV status. The extent to which serosorting protects African American (AA) and Hispanic men who have sex with men (MSM) is unknown.
We analyzed data collected from MSM STD clinic patients in Seattle, WA, 2001–10. Men were asked about the HIV status of their anal sex partners in the prior year and about their condom use with partners by partner HIV status. We defined serosorters as MSM who had unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) only with partners of the same HIV status, and compared the risk of testing HIV positive among serosorters and men who reported having UAI with partners of opposite or unknown HIV status (i.e. nonconcordant UAI). We used generalized estimating equations to evaluate the association of serosorting with testing HIV positive.
A total of 6694 MSM without a prior HIV diagnosis were tested during 13,657 visits; 274 men tested HIV positive. Serosorting was associated with a lower risk of testing HIV positive than nonconcordant UAI among white MSM (2.1 vs. 4.5%, OR 0.45 95% CI 0.34–0.61), but not AA MSM (6.8 vs. 6.0%, OR 1.1 95% CI 0.57–2.2). Among Hispanics, the risk of testing HIV positive was lower among serosorters than men engaging in nonconcordant UAI, though this was not significant (4.1 vs. 6.0%, OR 0.67 95% CI 0.36–1.2).
In at least some AA MSM populations, serosorting does not appear to be protective against HIV infection.
Among HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM), any incident of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) between casual partners is usually regarded as risky for HIV transmission. However, men are increasingly using knowledge of their casual partner’s HIV-status to reduce HIV risk during UAI (i.e., serosorting). Since familiarity between casual partners may lead to higher levels of UAI and serosorting, we examined how often men have UAI and practice serosorting with three types of casual partnerships that differ in their degree of familiarity.
We included 240 HIV-negative men of the Amsterdam Cohort Study among MSM. We distinguished three types of casual partnerships: one-night stand (‘met by chance and had sex only once’); multiple-time casual partner (‘met and had sex with several times’); and the ‘regular’ casual partner (‘sex buddy’). Serosorting was defined as UAI with an HIV-concordant partner. GEE analyses were used to examine the association between type of casual partnership and sexual risk behaviour.
Analyses revealed that men with a sex buddy were more likely to have UAI than men with a one-night stand (OR[95%CI] 2.39 [1.39–4.09]). However, men with a sex buddy were also more likely to practice serosorting than men with a one-night stand (OR[95%CI] 5.20 [1.20–22.52]).
Men with a sex buddy had more UAI but also reported more serosorting than men with a one-night stand. As a result, the proportion of UAI without serosorting is lower for men with a sex buddy, and therefore men might have less UAI at risk for HIV with this partner type. However, the protective value of serosorting with a sex buddy against HIV transmission needs to be further established. At this time, we suggest that a distinction between the one-night stand and the sex buddy should be incorporated in future studies as men behave significantly different with the two partner types.
men who have sex with men; serosorting; sexual behaviour; risk reduction behaviour; types of casual partnerships; unprotected anal intercourse
A common HIV/AIDS risk reduction strategy among men who have sex with men (MSM) is to limit their unprotected sex partners to those who are of the same HIV status, a practice referred to as serosorting. Decisions to serosort for HIV risk reduction are based on personal impressions and beliefs, and there is limited guidance offered on this community derived strategy from public health services. This paper reviews research on serosorting for HIV risk reduction and offers an evidence-based approach to serosorting guidance. Following a comprehensive electronic and manual literature search, we reviewed 51 studies relating to the implications of serosorting. Studies showed that HIV negative MSM who select partners based on HIV status are inadvertently placing themselves at risk for HIV. Infrequent HIV testing, lack of HIV status disclosure, co-occurring STIs, and acute HIV infection impede the potential protective benefits of serosorting. Public health messages should continue to encourage reductions in numbers of sexual partners and increases in condom use. Risk reduction messages should also highlight the limitations of relying on one’s own and partner’s HIV status in making sexual risk decisions.
serosorting; acute infection; HIV testing; prevention messages
Serosorting is commonly employed by MSM to reduce HIV risk. We hypothesize that MSM perceive serosorting to be effective, and that serosorting is predicted by resilience and inversely related to syndemic characteristics. Surveys included 504 substance-using MSM. Logistic regression models examined syndemic and resilience predictors of serosorting, separately by serostatus. For HIV-positive men, positive coping behaviors (P = .015) and coping self-efficacy (P = .014) predicted higher odds, and cognitive escape behaviors (P = .003) lower odds, of serosorting. For HIV-negative men, social engagement (P = .03) and coping self-efficacy (P = .01) predicted higher odds, and severe mental distress (P = .001), victimization history (P = .007) and cognitive escape behaviors (P = .006) lower odds, of serosorting. HIV-negative serosorters reported lower perceptions of risk for infection than non-serosorters (P < .000). Although high risk HIV-negative men may perceive serosorting to be effective, their high rates of UAI and partner change render this an ineffective risk reduction approach. Relevant public health messages are urgently needed.
Although efficacy is unknown, many men who have sex with men (MSM) attempt to reduce HIV risk by adapting condom use, partner selection, or sexual position to the partner’s HIV serostatus. We assessed the association of seroadaptive practices with HIV acquisition.
We pooled data on North American MSM from four longitudinal HIV-prevention studies. Sexual behaviors reported during each six-month interval were assigned sequentially to one of six mutually exclusive risk categories: (1) no unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), (2) having a single negative partner, (3) being an exclusive top (only insertive anal sex), (4) serosorting (multiple partners, all HIV negative), (5) seropositioning (only insertive anal sex with potentially discordant partners), and (6) UAI with no seroadaptive practices. HIV antibody testing was conducted at the end of each interval. We used Cox models to evaluate the independent association of each category with HIV acquisition, controlling for number of partners, age, race, drug use, and intervention assignment. 12,277 participants contributed to 60,162 six-month intervals with 663 HIV seroconversions. No UAI was reported in 47.4% of intervals, UAI with some seroadaptive practices in 31.8%, and UAI with no seroadaptive practices in 20.4%. All seroadaptive practices were associated with a lower risk, compared to UAI with no seroadaptive practices. However, compared to no UAI, serosorting carried twice the risk (HR = 2.03, 95%CI:1.51–2.73), whereas seropositioning was similar in risk (HR = 0.85, 95%CI:0.50–1.44), and UAI with a single negative partner and as an exclusive top were both associated with a lower risk (HR = 0.56, 95%CI:0.32–0.96 and HR = 0.55, 95%CI:0.36–0.84, respectively).
Seroadaptive practices appear protective when compared with UAI with no seroadaptive practices, but serosorting appears to be twice as risky as no UAI. Condom use and limiting number of partners should be advocated as first-line prevention strategies, but seroadaptive practices may be considered harm-reduction for men at greatest risk.
Surveillance data on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and behavioral characteristics identified in studies of the risk of seroconversion are often used as to track sexual behaviors that spread HIV. However, such analyses can be confounded by “seroadaptation”—the restriction of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), especially unprotected insertive UAI, to seroconcordant partnerships.
We utilized sexual network methodology and repeated-measures statistics to test the hypothesis that seroadaptive strategies reduce the risk of HIV transmission despite numerous partnerships and frequent UAI.
In a prospective cohort study of HIV superinfection including 168 HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), we found extensive seroadaptation. UAI was 15.5 times more likely to occur with a positive partner than a negative one (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.1–26.4). Receptive UAI was 4.3 times more likely in seroconcordant partnerships than with negative partners (95% CI, 2.8–6.6), but insertive UAI was 13.6 times more likely with positives (95% CI, 7.2–25.6). Our estimates suggest that seroadaptation reduced HIV transmissions by 98%.
Potentially effective HIV prevention strategies, such as seroadaptation, have evolved in communities of MSM before they have been recognized in research or discussed in the public health forum. Thus, to be informative, studies of HIV risk must be designed to assess seroadaptive behaviors rather than be limited to individual characteristics, unprotected intercourse, and numbers of partners. STI surveillance is not an effective indicator of trends in HIV incidence where there are strong patterns of seroadaptation.
Sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) have been increasing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in San Francisco. However, HIV incidence has stabilised.
To describe recent trends in sexual risk behaviour, STI, and HIV incidence among MSM in San Francisco and to assess whether increases in HIV serosorting (that is, selective unprotected sex with partners of the same HIV status) may contribute to preventing further expansion of the epidemic.
The study applies an ecological approach and follows the principles of second generation HIV surveillance. Temporal trends in biological and behavioural measures among MSM were assessed using multiple pre‐existing data sources: STI case reporting, prevention outreach programmatic data, and voluntary HIV counselling and testing data.
Reported STI cases among MSM rose from 1998 through 2004, although the rate of increase slowed between 2002 and 2004. Rectal gonorrhoea cases increased from 157 to 389 while early syphilis increased from nine to 492. UAI increased overall from 1998 to 2004 (p<0.001) in community based surveys; however, UAI with partners of unknown HIV serostatus decreased overall (p<0.001) among HIV negative MSM, and among HIV positive MSM it declined from 30.7% in 2001 to a low of 21.0% in 2004 (p<0.001). Any UAI, receptive UAI, and insertive UAI with a known HIV positive partner decreased overall from 1998 to 2004 (p<0.001) among MSM seeking anonymous HIV testing and at the STI clinic testing programme. HIV incidence using the serological testing algorithm for recent HIV seroconversion (STARHS) peaked in 1999 at 4.1% at the anonymous testing sites and 4.8% at the STI clinic voluntary testing programme, with rates levelling off through 2004.
HIV incidence among MSM appears to have stabilised at a plateau following several years of resurgence. Increases in the selection of sexual partners of concordant HIV serostatus may be contributing to the stabilisation of the epidemic. However, current incidence rates of STI and HIV remain high. Moreover, a strategy of risk reduction by HIV serosorting can be severely limited by imperfect knowledge of one's own and one's partners' serostatus.
men who have sex with men; sexual risk behaviour; sexually transmitted infections; HIV
Data from 635 very poor men who have sex with men (MSM) were used to identify seroadaptation with 1,102 male partners reported between 2005-2007 in Los Angeles as part of the Sexual Acquisition and Transmission of HIV Cooperative Agreement Program. The mean age of the sample was 41.7 years; 53% had experienced homelessness in the past year. Condoms were reported in 51% of sexual events involving anal intercourse. HIV seroconcordance was reported in 41% of sexual partnerships among HIV-positive participants. HIV-positive men were more likely to have oral-only or unprotected receptive anal intercourse and less likely to have unprotected insertive anal intercourse with HIV-negative or unknown partners compared to HIV-positive partners. Even in the face of poverty, HIV-positive MSM report mitigating risks of HIV-transmission though seroadaptation in the context of modest rates of condom use.
serosorting; seropositioning; oral-only sex; poverty
Unprotected sexual intercourse among HIV-positive people can adversely affect their own health by increasing their exposure to multiple strains of HIV-1 or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The study explored the relationship between knowledge of Nepalese HIV-positive men about the consequences of having unprotected sex with seroconcordant partners and their intention to practise safer sex with such partners. In total, 166 participants recruited conveniently in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, were interviewed. Each participant reported intention to practise safer sex with seroconcordant partners, know-ledge about the consequences of having unprotected sex with seroconcordant partners, perceived partner-related barriers to condom-use, belief that condoms interfere with sex, and condom-use self-efficacy. Of the 166 participants, 50.6% intended to practise safer sex every time they have sex with seroconcordant partners. Results of multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the participants who were aware of the possibility of HIV superinfection [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=2.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16-7.34, p=0.022)] or that the presence of STIs in HIV-positive persons increases progression of HIV disease (AOR=2.80, 95% CI 1.08-7.26, p=0.033) were more likely to intend to practise safer sex with seroconcordant partners. Similarly, the participants who were employed or who had lower levels of belief that condoms interfere with sex were more likely to intend to practise safer sex. The findings suggest that improving the knowledge of HIV-positive persons about the consequences of having unprotected sex with seroconcordant partners might improve their intention to practise safer sex with such partners.
HIV infections; Intention; Knowledge; Knowledge, attitudes, practices; Perceptions; Safe sex; Sexual behaviour; Nepal
In the US, black men who have sex with men (BMSM) are diagnosed with HIV at a rate far exceeding other men. However, many studies report no substantial increase in risk behavior among BMSM. Here we examine a partner selection strategy as a potential risk factor for HIV among BMSM and white MSM (WMSM).
Cross-sectional surveys were collected from self-reported HIV negative BMSM and WMSM attending a gay pride festival in Atlanta, GA.
HIV negative WMSM were more likely to report having unprotected anal intercourse with HIV negative men, and HIV negative BMSM were more likely to report unprotected anal intercourse with HIV status unknown partners. Furthermore, WMSM were more likely to endorse serosorting (limiting unprotected partners to those who have the same HIV status) beliefs and favorable HIV disclosure beliefs than BMSM.
WMSM appear to be using risk reduction strategies to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection more so than BMSM. Partner selection strategies have serious limitations; however they may explain in part the disproportionate number of HIV infections among BMSM.
ethnicity; men who have sex with men; risk behavior; perceptions of risk
Knowledge of a sex partner’s HIV serostatus can influence sexual behavior and inform harm-reduction strategies. We sought to determine how often Peruvian men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TW) knew the HIV serostatus of their sex partners, if this knowledge was associated with any predictive factors or unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), and if UAI was associated with partner serostatus.
We analyzed data from the 2008 Peruvian MSM Sentinel Surveillance Survey. Data were collected by CASI about each participant’s three most recent male sex partners. Primary outcome was knowledge of a partner's HIV test result. Multivariate analysis assessed the effect of age, education, sexual identity, number of male partners, alcohol use during intercourse, type of partnership and length of partnership using logistic regression.
735 participants provided data on 1,643 of their most recent sex partners from the last 3 months. 179/735 (24.4%) of all participants knew HIV test results for at least one of their 3 most recent partners, corresponding to 230/1643 (14.0%) of all sexual partnerships in the last 3 months. In multivariate analysis, casual (OR: 0.27, 95% CI: 0.17-0.42) and exchange sex (OR: 0.31, 95% CI: 0.11-0.88) partners, compared to stable partners, were negatively associated with knowledge of partner serostatus, whereas relationships lasting longer than one night (<3 months OR: 2.20, 95% CI: 1.39-3.51; 3 months to 1 year OR: 3.00, 95% CI: 1.80-5.01; ≥ 1 year OR: 4.13, 95% CI: 2.40-7.10) were positively associated with knowledge of partner serostatus. Knowledge of partner serostatus was not associated with unprotected anal intercourse with that partner.
Few MSM and TW in Peru know their partners’ HIV serostatus. Our findings suggest that the type and length of partnership influence the likelihood of knowing a partner’s serostatus. Further research should explore the contexts and practices of partner communication, their effect on sexual behavior, and interventions to promote discussion of HIV testing and serostatus as an HIV prevention strategy in this population.
We investigated the influence of partner-provided HIV-specific and general social support on the sexual risk behavior of gay male couples with concordant, discordant, or serostatus unknown outside partners. Participants were 566 gay male couples from the San Francisco Bay Area. HIV-specific social support was a consistent predictor for reduced unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with both concordant outside partners (all couple types) and outside partners of discordant or unknown serostatus (concordant negative and discordant couples). General social support was associated with increased UAI with concordant outside partners for concordant negative and concordant positive couples (i.e., serosorting). Our findings suggest that prevention efforts should target couples and identify the level of HIV-specific support that partners provide. Partner-provided support for HIV-related behaviors could be an additional construct to consider in gay male relationships, akin to relationship satisfaction and commitment, as well as an important component of future HIV prevention interventions.
HIV-specific social support; social support; gay male couples; sexual risk behavior
We investigated the influence of partner-provided HIV-specific and general social support on the sexual risk behavior of gay male couples with concordant, discordant, or serostatus-unknown outside partners. Participants were 566 gay male couples from the San Francisco Bay Area. HIV-specific social support was a consistent predictor for reduced unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with both concordant outside partners (all couple types) and outside partners of discordant or unknown serostatus (concordant negative and discordant couples). General social support was associated with increased UAI with concordant outside partners for concordant negative and concordant positive couples (i.e., serosorting). Our findings suggest that prevention efforts should target couples and identify the level of HIV-specific support that partners provide. Partner-provided support for HIV-related behaviors could be an additional construct to consider in gay male relationships, akin to relationship satisfaction and commitment, as well as an important component of future HIV prevention interventions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10461-010-9868-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
HIV-specific social support; Social support; Gay male couples; Sexual risk behavior
HIV seroadaptive behaviours such as serosorting and strategic positioning are being increasingly practised by homosexual men, however, their impact on sexually transmissible infections (STIs) is unclear.
Participants were 1,427 initially HIV-negative men enrolled from 2001 to 2004 and followed to June 2007. Participants were tested annually for anal and urethral gonorrhoea and chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and syphilis. In addition, they reported diagnoses of these conditions, and of genital and anal warts between annual visits, and sexual risk behaviours.
Compared with men who reported no unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), serosorting was associated with an increased risk of urethral (HR=1.97, 95% CI 1.43–2.72) and anal (HR=1.62, 95% CI 1.11–2.36) chlamydia. Compared with men who reported UAI with HIV non-concordant partners, men who practised serosorting had significantly lower risk of incident syphilis (HR=0.21, 95% CI 0.05–0.81) and urethral gonorrhoea (HR=0.61, 95% CI 0.39–0.96). Compared with men who reported no UAI, strategic positioning was associated with an increased risk of urethral gonorrhoea (HR=1.72, 95% CI 1.05–2.83) and chlamydia (HR=2.22, 95% CI 1.55–3.18). Compared with men who reported receptive UAI, the incidence of anal gonorrhoea (HR=0.38, 0.20–0.74) and chlamydia (HR= 0.44, 95% CI 0.27–0.69) was significantly lower in those who practised strategic positioning.
For men who reported seopadaptive behaviours, rates of some bacterial STIs were higher than in men who reported no UAI. However, rates were lower than for men who reported higher HIV risk behaviours.
Cohort study; STI; Homosexuality; male; HIV seroadaptive behaviour; Australia
Information about risky sexual behavior among people living with HIV/AIDS is important to prevent the spread of the disease. Using an anonymous, self-administrated questionnaire, we surveyed 185 HIV-infected patients about risk behaviors at the University Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Croatia. Unprotected anal or vaginal sex in the preceding 6 months with partners of uninfected/unknown HIV status was reported by 20% of men who have sex with men (MSM), about half of whom reported multiple casual partners of unknown HIV status; 6% of heterosexual men; and 3% of women. Heterosexual patients were potentially more likely to expose regular partners to HIV but reported no risk behaviors with casual, non-concordant partners. MSM reported more risk behaviors, which were strongly associated with having ≥2 sexual partners in the last 6 months and both insertive and receptive anal sex. Educational interventions in Croatia should target MSM to prevent high rates of HIV transmission
Men who have sex with men; Risk factors; Condom use; Croatia; HIV
Employing data from two Chicago-based household probability samples of men who have sex with men (MSM) implemented 5 years apart (the “UMHS 1997” and the “2002 MSM supplement” studies), we evaluated changes in risk behavior as well as the potential viability of two alternative perspectives for explaining these changes—risk management and safe-sex norm abandonment. We found significantly increased rates of unprotected insertive and receptive anal intercourse in the 2002 study. Sixty-eight percent of UMHS men reported having sex with partners having HIV positive or unknown status, compared with 38% of the MSM supplement men (p < .0001). Serosorting mediated and moderated the most extreme forms of risk behavior. Positive statistical associations between drug use and unprotected sex were stronger in the UMHS sample than in the MSM supplement. Findings suggesting that “risk management” strategies have shaped MSM behavior as it emerged in the early part of this decade have considerable implications for HIV prevention strategies.
Epidemiology; HIV/AIDS; Men who have sex with men; Sexual behavior; Substance use
Much of our understanding of the association between the Sexual Compulsivity Scale (SCS; Kalichman et al., 1994) and sexual risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been limited to samples of HIV positive MSM only. Using data from a community-based survey of gay and bisexual men (n = 1214), this analysis sought to further evaluate the association between the SCS and sexual risk behavior. The SCS was significantly associated with a variety of sexual risk behaviors, including having sex under the influence of club drugs, engaging in unprotected anal sex (receptive or insertive) with partners of the same and/or different HIV serostatus, identity as a barebacker, intentions to have bareback sex, number of recent sex partners, and temptation for unsafe sex. The SCS was also significantly associated with having engaged in a variety of specialized sexual behaviors (i.e., fetishes), many of which can increase HIV transmission risks. Finally, in multivariate analyses, the SCS significantly predicted unprotected sex with a non-main partner even when controlling for race, HIV serostatus, age, identity as a barebacker, and club drug use. These data indicate that the SCS may be able to serve as an indicator to detect HIV-associated sexual risk behavior in community-based samples of gay and bisexual men.
sexual compulsivity; gay and bisexual men; sexual risk behavior; HIV; club drugs; specialized sexual behavior; fetishes
Seroadaptive behaviors have been widely described as preventive strategies among men who have sex with men (MSM) and other populations worldwide. However, causal links between intentions to adopt seroadaptive behaviors and subsequent behavior have not been established. We conducted a longitudinal study of 732 MSM in San Francisco to assess consistency and adherence to multiple seroadaptive behaviors, abstinence and condom use, whether prior intentions predict future seroadaptive behaviors and the likelihood that observed behavioral patterns are the result of chance. Pure serosorting (i.e., having only HIV-negative partners) among HIV-negative MSM and seropositioning (i.e., assuming the receptive position during unprotected anal sex) among HIV-positive MSM were more common, more successfully adhered to and more strongly associated with prior intentions than consistent condom use. Seroconcordant partnerships occurred significantly more often than expected by chance, reducing the prevalence of serodiscordant partnerships. Having no sex was intended by the fewest MSM, yet half of HIV-positive MSM who abstained from sex at baseline also did so at 12 month follow-up. Nonetheless, no preventive strategy was consistently used by more than one-third of MSM overall and none was adhered to by more than half from baseline to follow-up. The effectiveness of seroadaptive strategies should be improved and used as efficacy endpoints in trials of behavioral prevention interventions.
Men who have sex with men; Serosorting; HIV
As HIV infection continues unabated, there is a need for effective interventions targeting at-risk men who have sex with men (MSM). Engaging MSM online where they meet sexual partners is critical for HIV prevention efforts.
A randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted online among U.S. MSM recruited from several gay sexual networking websites assessed the impact of 2 HIV prevention videos and an HIV prevention webpage compared to a control condition for the study outcomes HIV testing, serostatus disclosure, and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) at 60-day follow-up. Video conditions were pooled due to reduced power from low retention (53%, n = 1,631). No participant incentives were provided.
Follow-up was completed by 1,631 (53%) of 3,092 eligible men. In the 60 days after the intervention, men in the pooled video condition were significantly more likely than men in the control to report full serostatus disclosure (‘asked and told’) with their last sexual partner (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.01–1.74). Comparing baseline to follow-up, HIV-negative men in the pooled video (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.54–0.91) and webpage condition (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.25–0.72) significantly reduced UAI at follow-up. HIV-positive men in the pooled video condition significantly reduced UAI (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.20–0.67) and serodiscordant UAI (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.28–0.96) at follow-up.
Findings from this online RCT of MSM recruited from sexual networking websites suggest that a low cost, brief digital media intervention designed to engage critical thinking can increase HIV disclosure to sexual partners and decrease sexual risk. Effective, brief HIV prevention interventions featuring digital media that are made widely available may serve as a complementary part of an overall behavioral and biomedical strategy for reducing sexual risk by addressing the specific needs and circumstances of the target population, and by changing individual knowledge, motivations, and community norms.