Evidence-based HIV prevention interventions with men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States have moderate effect sizes in reducing HIV sexual risk behavior. Mental health and psychosocial problems, which both disproportionately affect MSM populations and are implicated in HIV transmission risk behaviors, also likely interfere with the uptake of HIV behavioral interventions. Moreover, given that mental health and psychosocial problems such as depression, substance use, and violence frequently co-occur for many MSM (eg, as “syndemic conditions”), what is probably needed are combination prevention efforts, or prevention “cocktails,” similar to treatment “cocktails,” that address the psychological and behavioral mechanisms that interact to produce elevated risk for HIV. Such interventions should incorporate a holistic framework to address the sexual health and overall well-being of MSM. Addressing co-occurring psychosocial risk factors is apt to improve effect sizes of current HIV prevention interventions and allow for more effective uptake by MSM.
We tested a theory of syndemic production among men who have sex with men (MSM) using data from a large cohort study.
Participants were 1551 men from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study enrolled at 4 study sites: Baltimore, Maryland–Washington, DC; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Participants who attended semiannual visits from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, completed an additional survey that captured data about events throughout their life course thought to be related to syndemic production.
Using multivariate analysis, we found that the majority of life-course predictor variables (e.g., victimization, internalized homophobia) were significantly associated with both the syndemic condition and the component psychosocial health outcomes (depressive symptoms, stress, stimulant use, sexual compulsivity, intimate partner violence). A nested negative binomial analysis showed that the overall life course significantly explained variability in the syndemic outcomes (χ2 = 247.94; P < .001; df = 22).
We identified life-course events and conditions related to syndemic production that may help to inform innovative interventions that will effectively disentangle interconnecting health problems and promote health among MSM.
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.
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.
Homosexuality; Male; Urban health; Social environment
This study analyzed data from a large prospective epidemiologic cohort study among men who have sex with men (MSM), the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, to assess syndemic relationships among Black MSM in the cohort (N = 301). We hypothesized that multiple interconnections among psychosocial health conditions would be found among these men, defining syndemic conditions. Constituents of syndemic conditions measured included reported depression symptoms, sexual compulsiveness, substance use, intimate partner violence (IPV), and stress. We found significant evidence of syndemics among these Black men: depression symptoms were independently associated with sexual compulsiveness (odds ratios [OR]: 1.88, 95% CI = 1.1, 3.3) and stress (OR: 2.67, 95% CI = 1.5, 4.7); sexual compulsiveness was independently associated with stress (OR: 2.04, 95% CI = 1.2, 3.5); substance misuse was independently associated with IPV (OR: 2.57, 95% CI = 1.4, 4.8); stress independently was associated with depression symptoms (OR: 2.67, 95% CI = 1.5, 4.7), sexual compulsiveness (OR: 2.04, 95% CI = 1.2, 3.5) and IPV (OR: 2.84, 95% CI = 1.6, 4.9). Moreover, men who reported higher numbers of syndemic constituents (three or more conditions) reportedly engaged in more unprotected anal intercourse compared to men who had two or fewer health conditions (OR: 3.46, 95% CI = 1.4–8.3). Findings support the concept of syndemics in Black MSM and suggest that syndemic theory may help explain complexities that sustain HIV-related sexual transmission behaviors in this group.
HIV; Syndemics; Black men; Sexual risk; Epidemiology
Young men who have sex with men (MSM) represent an increasing number of new HIV infections in many communities. Many individuals still hold beliefs that may lead to discrimination against HIV-positive individuals. HIV stigma is associated with negative health and psychosocial outcomes and may lead to greater challenges for this marginalized population. This study describes stigma experienced by HIV-positive young MSM, explores its relationship to psychosocial measures, and tests the hypothesis that stigma scores will be higher in those diagnosed less than 1 year ago versus more than 1 year. From August 2004 to September 2005 young MSM completed a questionnaire including demographic information and psychosocial measures. Descriptive and bivariate analyses of association were used to interpret data from the total stigma scale and four subscales: personalized stigma (PS), public attitudes (PA), negative self-image (NSI), and disclosure concerns (DC). Index scores were calculated by standardizing each subscale for direct comparisons. The 42 participants were: mean 21.3 years; 45% black, 24% Hispanic, 26% white; 14% transgender; and 50% diagnosed HIV-positive less than 1 year. Participants reported HIV-related stigma across all domains with mean index subscale scores: PS 0.57, PA 0.61, NSI 0.63, DC 0.75 indicating that disclosure concerns were prevalent in comparison to other forms of HIV-related stigma. Stigma scores correlated with depression, social support, self-esteem, and romantic loneliness. Stigma scores did not differ for those diagnosed less than 1 year ago versus more than 1 year ago. Providers should address HIV-related stigma concerns, particularly disclosure, throughout the trajectory of the illness when caring for HIV-positive young MSM as a factor affecting health outcomes and psychosocial functioning.
Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk for HIV infection in the United States compared to other MSM. The aim of this study was to investigate Black MSM’s sexual mixing patterns and partner characteristics in relation to sexual risk taking, as a possible explanation for this observed increase in HIV incidence. Between January and July 2008, 197 Black MSM were recruited via modified respondent-driven sampling and completed optional pretest and post-test HIV serological testing, counseling, and a demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial assessment battery. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression procedures were used to examine predictors of risky sex across partner types. Overall, 18% of the sample was HIV-infected; 50% reported unprotected intercourse with men, 30% with women, and 5% with transgender partners. Fifty-three percent identified as bisexual or straight, although all reported oral or anal sex with another man in the prior 12 months. Significant predictors of engaging in at least one episode of: (1) serodiscordant unprotected anal sex (UAS) with a male partner in the past 12 months: individuals at risk for social isolation (AOR = 4.23; p = 0.03), those with unstable housing (AOR = 4.19; p = 0.03), and those who used poppers at least weekly during sex (AOR = 5.90; p = 0.05); (2) UAS and/or unprotected vaginal intercourse with a female partner in the past 12 months: those with unstable housing (AOR = 4.85; p = 0.04), those who used cocaine at least weekly during sex (AOR = 16.78; p = 0.006), being HIV-infected (AOR = 0.07; p = 0.02), and feeling social norms favor condom use (AOR = 0.60; p = 0.05); (3) UAS with the participants’ most recent nonmain male sex partner: use of alcohol and drugs during last sex by participant (AOR = 4.04; p = 0.01), having sex with a Hispanic/Latino male (AOR = 2.71; p = 0.04) or a Black male (AOR = 0.50; p = 0.05) compared to a White male, and lower education (AOR = 1.31; p = 0.02). Findings suggest that sexual risk behaviors of Black MSM differ across partner type and by the characteristics of their sexual networks and that this subpopulation of MSM are at high risk for HIV acquisition and transmission. Effective prevention strategies need to address the distinct sexual and behavioral risk patterns presented by different sexual partnerships reported by Black MSM.
HIV/AIDS; STD; African American/Black; MSM; Prevention
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are marginalized, hidden, underserved and at high risk for HIV in Nepal. We examined the association between MSM sub-populations, psychosocial health problems and support, access to prevention and non-use of condoms.
Between September-November of 2010, a cross-sectional survey on HIV-related risk behavior was performed across Nepal through snowball sampling facilitated by non-governmental organizations, recruiting 339 MSM, age 15 or older. The primary outcomes were: (a) non-use of condoms at least once in last three anal sex encounters with men and (b) non-use of condoms with women in the last encounter. The secondary outcome was participation in HIV prevention interventions in the past year.
Among the 339 MSM interviewed, 78% did not use condoms at their last anal sex with another man, 35% did not use condoms in their last sex with a woman, 70% had experienced violence in the last 12 months, 61% were experiencing depression and 47% had thought of committing suicide. After adjustment for age, religion, marital status, and MSM subpopulations (bisexual, ta, meti, gay), non-use of condoms at last anal sex with a man was significantly associated with non-participation in HIV interventions, experience of physical and sexual violence, depression, repeated suicidal thoughts, small social support network and being dissatisfied with social support. Depression was marginally associated with non-use of condoms with women. The findings suggest that among MSM who reported non-use of condoms at last anal sex, the ta subgroup and those lacking family acceptance were the least likely to have participated in any preventive interventions.
MSM in Nepal have a prevalence of psychosocial health problems in turn associated with high risk behavior for HIV. Future HIV prevention efforts targeting MSM in Nepal should cover all MSM subpopulations and prioritize psychosocial health interventions.
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.
Men who have sex with men; MSM; Syndemics; HIV prevention; Mental health
While condom use is an effective barrier against HIV transmission, some men who have sex with men (MSM) engage in bareback sex (unprotected anal sex in risky contexts) and increase their risk for HIV (re)infection. Understanding MSM's decision to bareback (vis-à-vis condom use) is essential to develop effective HIV/AIDS prevention programs for this population.
An ethnically diverse sample of men who bareback (n=120) was recruited exclusively on the Internet and stratified to include two-thirds who reported both URAI and being HIV-uninfected. We use exploratory factor analysis to explore the domains within the DBB scale, and test the association between DBB and risky sexual behaviors.
HIV-positive MSM (n=31) reported higher costs/losses associated with condom use than HIV-negative men (n=89). We found two underlying factors in the DBB scale: a Coping with Social Vulnerabilities subscale (8 items; α = .89) and a Pleasure & Emotional Connection subscale (5 items; α = .92). We found a positive association between DBB (i.e. greater gains associated with bareback sex) and URAI occasions, number of partners, and having one or more serodiscordant partners in the past 3 months.
MSM may avoid using condoms in order to cope with psychosocial vulnerabilities and create intimacy with other MSM. This population could benefit from alternatives to condoms such as pre/post exposure prophylaxis and rectal microbicides.
Condom use; Bareback; MSM; decision-making; scale development
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.
In India men who have sex with men (MSM) are a stigmatized and hidden population, vulnerable to a variety of psychosocial and societal stressors. This population is also much more likely to be HIV-infected compared to the general population. However, little research exists about how psychosocial and societal stressors result in mental health problems. A confidential, quantitative mental-health interview was conducted among 150 MSM in Mumbai, India at The Humsafar Trust, the largest non-governmental organization serving MSM in India. The interview collected information on sociodemographics and assessed self-esteem, social support and DSM-IV psychiatric disorders using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Participants' mean age was 25.1 years (SD=5.1); 21% were married to women. Forty-five percent reported current suicidal ideation, with 66% low risk, 19% moderate risk, and 15% high risk for suicide per MINI guidelines. Twenty-nine percent screened in for current major depression and 24% for any anxiety disorder. None of the respondents reported current treatment for any psychiatric disorder. In multivariable models controlling for age, education, income and sexual identity, participants reporting higher levels of self-esteem and greater levels of satisfaction with the social support they receive from family and friends were at lower risk of suicidality (self-esteem AOR=0.85, 95% CI: 0.78-0.93; social support AOR=0.76, 95% CI: 0.62-0.93) and major depression (self-esteem AOR=0.79, 95% CI: 0.71-0.89; social support AOR=0.68, 95% CI: 0.54-0.85). Those who reported greater social support satisfaction were also at lower risk of a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder (AOR=0.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.99). MSM in Mumbai have high rates of suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety. Programs to improve self-esteem and perceived social support may improve these mental health outcomes. Because they are also a high-risk group for HIV, MSM HIV prevention and treatment services may benefit from incorporating mental health services and referrals into their programs.
Men who have sex with men (MSM); Mumbai; India; mental health; suicide; depression; anxiety
A retrospective analysis was undertaken to determine the seroprevalence of Entamoeba histolytica infection in Sydney, Australia. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, 429 high risk human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected men who have sex with men (MSM), 446 low risk HIV-uninfected MSM, and 456 HIV-uninfected controls were assessed. Seroprevalence rates were 5.13% for the high risk HIV-infected MSM group, 0.22% for the low risk HIV-uninfected MSM group, and 0.44% for the control group. We found that high risk HIV-infected MSM have a significantly greater seroprevalence of E. histolytica with a relative risk of 22.87, when compared with low risk HIV-uninfected MSM and 11.69 when compared with controls. These findings show that in Sydney, sexually active HIV-infected MSM are at greater risk of developing amoebic disease caused by E. histolytica than HIV-uninfected MSM and the general population.
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.
In India men who have sex with men (MSM) are stigmatized, understudied, and at high risk for HIV. Understanding the impact of psychosocial issues on HIV risk behavior and HIV infection can help shape culturally relevant HIV prevention interventions. Peer outreach workers recruited 210 MSM in Chennai who completed an interviewer-administered psychosocial assessment battery and underwent HIV testing and counseling. More than one fifth (46/210) reported unprotected anal intercourse in the past 3 months, 8% tested positive for HIV, and 26% had previously participated in an HIV prevention intervention. In a multivariable logistic-regression model controlling for age, MSM subpopulation (kothi, panthi, or double-decker), marital status, and religion, significant predictors of any unprotected anal intercourse were being less educated (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = .54; p = .009), not having previously participated in an HIV prevention program (AOR = 3.75; p = .05), having clinically significant depression symptoms (AOR = 2.8; p = .02), and lower self-efficacy (AOR = .40; p < .0001). Significant predictors of testing positive for HIV infection were: being less educated (AOR = .53; .05) and not currently living with parent(s) (AOR = 3.71; p = .05). Given the prevalence of HIV among MSM, efforts to reach hidden subpopulations of MSM in India are still needed. Such programs for MSM in India may need to address culturally-relevant commonly co-occurring psychosocial problems to maximize chances of reducing risk for infection.
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.
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.
In the last two decades, ‘concentrated epidemics’ of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have established in several high risk groups in Pakistan, including Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) and among men who have sex with men (MSM). To explore the transmission patterns of HIV infection in these major high-risk groups of Pakistan, 76 HIV samples were analyzed from MSM, their female spouses and children, along with 26 samples from a previously studied cohort of IDUs. Phylogenetic analysis of HIV gag gene sequences obtained from these samples indicated a substantial degree of intermixing between the IDU and MSM populations, suggesting a bridging of HIV infection from IDUs, via MSM, to the MSM spouses and children. HIV epidemic in Pakistan is now spreading to the female spouses and offspring of bisexual MSM. HIV control and awareness programs must be refocused to include IDUs, MSM, as well as bisexual MSM, and their spouses and children.
HIV incidence is increasing among men who have sex with men (MSM) despite years of prevention education and intervention efforts. Whereas there has been considerable progress made in identifying risk factors among younger MSM, older MSM have been largely neglected. In particular, the role of alcohol and drug use in conjunction with sex has not been thoroughly studied in older MSM samples. This article reviews the small body of literature examining the association of substance abuse and risky sexual behavior in this population and provides a methodological critique of the reviewed studies. The data show that older MSM are engaging in risky sexual behavior, with the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual activities increasing with the use of alcohol and other drugs. Methodological limitations prevent strong conclusions regarding whether the sexual risk behaviors of older MSM differ from those of younger MSM, and the extent to which alcohol and drug use may differentially contribute to engagement in sexual risk-taking as a function of age. Future research is needed to clarify these associations.
MSM; Older; Substance use; Sexual risk
The men-having-sex-with-men (MSM) population has become one of the major risk groups for HIV-1 infection in the Asia Pacific countries. Hong Kong is located in the centre of Asia and the transmission history of HIV-1 subtype B transmission among MSM remained unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the transmission dynamics of HIV-1 subtype B virus in the Hong Kong MSM population. Samples of 125 HIV-1 subtype B infected MSM patients were recruited in this study. Through this study, the subtype B epidemic in the Hong Kong MSM population was identified spreading mainly among local Chinese who caught infection locally. On the other hand, HIV-1 subtype B infected Caucasian MSM caught infection mainly outside Hong Kong. The Bayesian phylogenetic analysis also indicated that 3 separate subtype B epidemics with divergence dates in the 1990s had occurred. The first and latest epidemics were comparatively small-scaled; spreading among the local Chinese MSM while sauna-visiting was found to be the major sex partner sourcing reservoir for the first subtype B epidemic. However, the second epidemic was spread in a large-scale among local Chinese MSM with a number of them having sourced their sex partners through the internet. The epidemic virus was estimated to have a divergence date in 1987 and the infected population in Hong Kong had a logistic growth throughout the past 20 years. Our study elucidated the evolutionary and demographic history of HIV-1 subtype B virus in Hong Kong MSM population. The understanding of transmission and growth model of the subtype B epidemic provides more information on the HIV-1 transmission among MSM population in other Asia Pacific high-income countries.
Studies have found that between 14% and 46% of US men who have sex with men (MSM) consistently report “barebacking” behavior (i.e., intentional unprotected anal intercourse) with other men. This is of public health significance because MSM continue to constitute more than 50% of new HIV infections in the USA. Men who self-identify as barebackers may represent a different and unique subset of MSM with distinct HIV prevention needs. In 2007, 227 HIV seronegative MSM recruited through modified respondent-driven sampling completed an interviewer-administered survey which assessed barebacker identity (i.e., personally identifying with the barebacker scene), demographics, sexual risk behaviors, psychosocial variables, and drug/alcohol use. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression procedures were used to examine predictors of barebacker identity in relation to HIV risk behavior. Overall, 31% of participants identified as a barebacker. In bivariate analyses, lower education (OR = 1.76; 95% CI = 0.99–3.13; p < 0.05), a current drinking problem (OR = 2.34, 95% CI = 1.29–4.23; p < 0.01), higher levels of HIV treatment optimism (OR = 1.06; 95% CI = 1.01–1.12; p < 0.05), meeting sexual partners at private sex parties (OR = 2.47; 95% CI = 1.28–4.74; p < 0.01) or at bars/cubs (OR = 1.97; 95% CI = 1.10–3.52; p < 0.05), and engaging in serodiscordant unprotected insertive anal sex (OR = 3.42; 95% CI = 1.27–9.21; p < 0.01) significantly predicted barebacker identification compared to those with no barebacker identification. In a multivariable model, barebackers were more likely to screen in for alcohol abuse (adjusted OR = 2.16; 95% CI = 1.09–4.27; p < 0.05) and engage in serodiscordant unprotected insertive anal sex (adjusted OR = 3.17; 95% CI = 1.09–9.20; p < 0.05) compared to their non-barebacker counterparts. No significant differences were found in serodiscordant unprotected receptive anal sex between barebackers and non-barebackers. These findings suggest that barebacker identity is related to intentional HIV sexual risk taking and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, strategic positioning (i.e., engaging in insertive rather than receptive sex) might be associated with barebacker identification and may indicate a harm-reduction strategy being used among some HIV-uninfected MSM to reduce their risk of becoming infected. Additional research is warranted to understand the social identity of barebacking among MSM in order to develop more nuanced prevention strategies.
HIV/AIDS; STIs; MSM; Bareback; Prevention
Men who have sex with men (MSM) in India are disproportionately likely to be HIV-infected, and face distinct psychosocial challenges. Understanding the unique socio-cultural issues of MSM in India and how they relate to HIV risk could maximize the utility of future prevention efforts. This review discusses: (i) the importance of addressing co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression, which may interfere with MSM's ability to benefit from traditional risk reduction counselling, (ii) reducing HIV-related stigma among health providers, policymakers and the lay public, and (iii) the role for non-governmental organizations that work with the community to play in providing culturally relevant HIV prevention programmes for MSM.
HIV; India; men who have sex with men; MSM; mental health; stigma
High rates of psychosocial and health problems have been identified among patients attending sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics, who are disproportionately urban, low-income, and racial/ethnic minorities. This study sought to determine whether these problems co-occurred, and whether they indicated the presence of a syndemic.
Patients (N = 1557, 46% female, 64% African American) attending an urban STD clinic completed a computerized survey assessing childhood sexual abuse (CSA), depressive symptoms, binge drinking, marijuana use, intimate partner violence (IPV), and sexual risk behavior. Medical records were reviewed to determine incident STD diagnosis.
The psychosocial and health problems were interrelated. Endorsing more psychosocial problems was associated with a greater likelihood of having multiple sexual partners and STD diagnosis. Interactions between CSA and marijuana use, and between CSA and IPV, predicted STD diagnosis.
Numerous psychosocial and health problems co-occur among urban STD clinic patients. There was some evidence of a syngergistic relationship (i.e., a syndemic) between these conditions, resulting in worsened sexual health outcomes. Health care needs to be multidisciplinary to address the multiple psychosocial and health problems faced by STD clinic patients. Research needs to identify factors that may underlie these comorbid conditions.
STD; Violence; Substance use; Depression; Sexual risk behavior
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.
HIV infection; Sexual partnering; Black men who have sex with men; African American; Unprotected anal intercourse
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.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) have become a high-risk group of HIV infection in China. To date, little is known regarding the behavioral, social and psychological characteristics in Chinese MSM, which makes the implementation of preventive and therapeutic strategies for this high-risk subpopulation of people extremely difficult.
A total of 714 questionnaires were retrieved from the database of a Chinese government-sponsored National Key Research Project titled "Risk Analysis and Strategic Prevention of HIV Transmission from MSM to the General Population in China". The respondents were categorized into a high-risk group and a control group. Their behavioral, social and psychological characteristics were comparatively analyzed.
Of the 714 MSM analyzed, 59 (8.26%) had high-risk homosexual behaviors. This sub-group of MSM had a higher in-marriage rate, a higher monthly income, heavier alcohol consumption and more serious problems with sexual abuse in childhood, intentional suicide attempts and mistaken assumption on condom's role in protecting HIV infection, as compared with the control group (P < 0.05). In contrast, the two groups did not differ significantly the sexual orientation, level of education, types of profession, drug use, condom use and experience of social stigma and discrimination (P > 0.05). A vast majority of the individuals in both behavior categories expressed support of legally protected gay clubs as well as gay marriage legislation in China. There was a strong correlation between high-risk behaviors and sexual abuse in childhood, alcohol drinking, income level and a mistaken belief in perfect HIV protection through the use of condoms.
MSM with and without high-risk homosexual behaviors have different social and psychological characteristics, which should be taken into account when implementing behavioral and therapeutic interventions aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS transmission among MSM as well as from MSM to the general population in China.
MSM; HIV infection; Sexual risk behavior; Psychological characteristics; China