Two decades of HIV prevention efforts with men who have sex with men (MSM) have not eliminated the risk of new HIV infections in this vulnerable population. Indeed, current incidence rates in African American MSM are similar to those usually only seen in developing countries. A review of the existing literature suggests that the prevention research agenda for Black MSM could benefit from reframing conceptualization of risk as a function of individual properties to a broad consideration of social and interpersonal determinants. Studies that investigate dyadic and social-level influences on African American MSM’s relationships are needed. This includes research explicating the diversity existing within the categorizations of Black MSM with respect to perceived identity (gay, bisexual, “men on the down low,” “homo thugz”), constructions of masculinity, sexual scripts, sources of social support, and perceived norms and expectations. Recommendations are proposed for a research agenda focusing on linkages between interpersonal and social-structural determinants of HIV risk.
down low; MSM; African American; Black; homo thugz; HIV prevention; social determinants; inequality; mental health
The incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS is increasing among rural men who have sex with men (MSM). Yet little is known about the social/sexual environment of rural frontier areas.
The purpose of this study was to assess the social/sexual environment of gay men living in rural areas and how this environment contributes to the development of HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
A qualitative study was conducted in Wyoming. In-depth guided interviews were conducted with 39 self-identified gay men. Data were analyzed for emergent themes using constant comparative analysis.
Four broadly related themes emerged. Participants perceive that they live in a hostile social environment in which the potential for becoming a target of violence is present. In order to cope with this social reality, men adopt strategies to assimilate into the predominant heterosexual culture and to look for sex partners. These, in turn, are related to their attitudes about HIV/AIDS and prevention activities. Notably, the Internet was discussed by participants as a means for men to connect to a larger gay society and look for sex partners and as a potential venue to HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
Data provided a number of implications for developing HIV/AIDS prevention programs targeting rural MSM. Especially apparent was the need for programs to be mindful of the desire to keep one's sexual preferences shielded from public knowledge and the effect this may have on recruiting rural MSM to participate in prevention activities. The Internet, because men can access it privately, might provide a venue for prevention projects.
The purpose of this study is to improve understanding of HIV vulnerability and opportunities for HIV prevention within the social networks of male-to-female transgender persons in San Salvador, El Salvador. We compare HIV prevalence and behavioral data from a sample of gay-identified men who have sex with men (MSM) (n = 279), heterosexual or bisexual identified MSM (n = 229) and transgender persons (n = 67) recruited using Respondent Driven Sampling. Transgender persons consistently reported higher rates of HIV risk behavior than the rest of the study population and were significantly more likely to be involved in sex work. While transgender persons reported the highest rates of exposure to HIV educational activities they had the lowest levels of HIV-related knowledge. Transgender respondents’ social networks were homophilous and efficient at recruiting other transgender persons. Findings suggest that transgender social networks could provide an effective and culturally relevant opportunity for HIV prevention efforts in this vulnerable population.
El Salvador; Transgender; HIV; Men who have sex with men; Sexually transmitted infections; Respondent driven sampling
As other countries, Switzerland experiences a high or even rising incidence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) among men who have sex with men (MSM). An outpatient clinic for gay men ("Checkpoint") was opened in 2006 in Zurich (Switzerland) in order to provide sexual health services. The clinic provides counselling, testing, medical treatment and follow-up at one location under an "open-door-policy" and with a high level of personal continuity. We describe first experiences with the new service and report the characteristics of the population that utilized it.
During the 6-month evaluation period, individuals who requested counselling, testing or treatment were asked to participate in a survey at their first visit prior to the consultation. The instrument includes questions regarding personal data, reasons for presenting, sexual behaviour, and risk situations. Number and results of HIV/STI tests and treatments for STI were also recorded.
During the evaluation period, 632 consultations were conducted and 247 patients were seen by the physician. 406 HIV tests were performed (3.4% positive). 402 men completed the entry survey (64% of all consultations). The majority of respondents had 4 and more partners during the last 12 months and engaged in either receptive, insertive or both forms of anal intercourse. More than half of the responders used drugs or alcohol to get to know other men or in conjunction with sexual activity (42% infrequently, 10% frequently and 0.5% used drugs always). The main reasons for requesting testing were a prior risk situation (46.3%), followed by routine screening without a prior risk situation (24.1%) and clarification of HIV/STI status due to a new relationship (29.6%). A fifth of men that consulted the service had no history of prior tests for HIV or other STIs.
Since its first months of activity, the service achieved high levels of recognition, acceptance and demand in the MSM community. Contrary to common concepts of "testing clinics", the Checkpoint service provides post-exposure prophylaxis, HIV and STI treatment, psychological support and counselling and general medical care. It thus follows a holistic approach to health in the MSM community with the particular aim to serve as a "door opener" between the established system of care and those men that have no access to, or for any reason hesitate to utilize traditional health care.
The purpose of this study was to compare the social network characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) to non-MSM (NMSM) in a sample of predominately African American drug users. Specifically, we were interested in examining the differences in structure of the networks and drug and sexual risk partners within the network.
Data came from 481 male participants who reported having >=1 sex partner in the past 90 days. MSM was defined as having sex with a male. Data on social network composition were collected using a Social Network Inventory.
Of 481 men, 7% (n=32) were categorized as MSM. Nearly two-thirds of MSM did not identify as gay. MSM were more likely to be HIV positive as compared to men who did not have sex with men. Social networks of MSM were younger and a greater proportion were HIV positive. After adjusting for HIV status, networks of MSM were less dense, indicating fewer connections among network members. Among injection drug using men in the sample, MSM reported a greater number of needle sharing networks than NMSM.
These findings underscore the importance of including social network factors in investigations of HIV risk among MSM. Further studies should focus on dynamics within a network and how they may operate to affect behavior and health.
MSM; social networks; HIV
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.
American Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV, but the factors associated with this concentrated epidemic are not fully understood.
Black MSM were enrolled in 6 US cities to evaluate a multi-component prevention intervention, with the current analysis focusing on the correlates of being newly diagnosed with HIV compared to being HIV-uninfected or previously diagnosed with HIV.
HPTN 061 enrolled 1553 Black MSM whose median age was 40; 30% self-identified exclusively as gay or homosexual, 29% exclusively as bisexual, and 3% as transgender. About 1/6th (16.2%) were previously diagnosed with HIV (PD); of 1263 participants without a prior HIV diagnosis 7.6% were newly diagnosed (ND). Compared to PD, ND Black MSM were younger (p<0.001); less likely to be living with a primary partner (p<0.001); more likely to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.011) or chlamydia (p = 0.020). Compared to HIV-uninfected Black MSM, ND were more likely to report unprotected receptive anal intercourse (URAI) with a male partner in the last 6 months (p<0.001); and to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.004), and urethral (p = 0.025) or rectal chlamydia (p<0.001). They were less likely to report female (p = 0.002) or transgender partners (p = 0.018). Multivariate logistic regression analyses found that ND Black MSM were significantly more likely than HIV-uninfected peers to be unemployed; have STIs, and engage in URAI. Almost half the men in each group were poor, had depressive symptoms, and expressed internalized homophobia.
ND HIV-infected Black MSM were more likely to be unemployed, have bacterial STIs and engage in URAI than other Black MSM. Culturally-tailored programs that address economic disenfranchisement, increase engagement in care, screen for STIs, in conjunction with safer sex prevention interventions, may help to decrease further transmission in this heavily affected community.
This study examined whether social vulnerability is associated with HIV testing among South African MSM. A community-based survey was conducted with 300 MSM in Pretoria in 2008. The sample was stratified by age, race, and residential status. Social vulnerability was assessed using measures of demographic characteristics, psychosocial determinants, and indicators of sexual minority stress. Being Black, living in a township and lacking HIV knowledge reduced MSM’s likelihood of ever having tested for HIV. Among those who had tested, lower income and not self-identifying as gay reduced men’s likelihood of having tested more than once. Lower income and internalized homophobia reduced men’s likelihood of having tested recently. Overall, MSM in socially vulnerable positions were less likely to get tested for HIV. Efforts to mitigate the effects of social vulnerability on HIV testing practices are needed in order to encourage regular HIV testing among South African MSM.
Given the increasing emphasis on “prevention with positives” programs designed to promote HIV transmission risk reduction among people living with HIV/AIDS, better understanding of influences upon serostatus disclosure in sexual situations is needed. Based on grounded theory analyses of individual interviews, this exploratory research hypothesizes and interprets how 15 HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) formed personal HIV disclosure policies for sexual situations. Participants described five elements influencing development of their personal policies, including: (1) making sense of having been infected, (2) envisioning sex as an HIV-positive man, (3) sorting through feelings of responsibility for others, (4) responding to views of friends and the gay community, and (5) anticipating reactions and consequences of disclosure. The article concludes with implications for current initiatives for prevention with positives.
Internalised homonegativity (IH) is hypothesised to be associated with HIV risk behaviour and HIV testing in men who have sex with men (MSM). We sought to determine the social and individual variables associated with IH and the associations between IH and HIV-related behaviours.
Design and setting
We examined IH and its predictors as part of a larger Internet-delivered, cross-sectional study on HIV and health in MSM in 38 European countries.
181 495 MSM, IH data analysis subsample 144 177. All participants were male, over the age of consent for homosexual activity in their country of domicile, and have had at least one homosexual contact in the past 6 months.
An anonymous Internet-based questionnaire was disseminated in 25 languages through MSM social media, websites and organisations and responses saved to a UK-based server. IH was measured using a standardised, cross-culturally appropriate scale.
Three clusters of European countries based on the level of experienced discrimination emerged. IH was predicted by country LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) legal climate, Gini coefficient and size of place of settlement. Lower IH was associated with degree the respondent was ‘out’ as gay to others and older age. ‘Outness’ was associated with ever having an HIV test and age, education and number of gay friends, while IH (controlling for the number of non-steady unprotected sex partners and perceived lack of control over safe sex) was associated with condom use for anal intercourse.
IH is associated with LGB legal climate, economic development indices and urbanisation. It is also associated with ‘outness’ and with HIV risk and preventive behaviours including HIV testing, perceived control over sexual risk and condom use. Homonegative climate is associated with IH and higher levels of HIV-associated risk in MSM. Reducing IH through attention to LGB human rights may be appropriate HIV reduction intervention for MSM.
Public Health; Sexual Medicine; Social Medicine
High HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women in Thailand suggest a vital need for targeted interventions. We conducted a cross-sectional survey to examine and compare sexual risk behaviors, and demographic and behavioral correlates of risk, among MSM and transgender women recruited from gay entertainment venue staff and community-based organization (CBO) participants. We used venue-based sampling across nine sites in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Among 260 participants (57.3% gay-identified, 26.9% heterosexual/bisexual-identified, 15.8% transgender; mean age=26.7 years), nearly one-fifth (18.5%) reported unprotected anal sex (UAS), half (50.4%) sex in exchange for money, and one-fifth (20.0%) STI diagnosis (past year). Nearly one-fourth (23.1%) reported oral erectile dysfunction medication use and nearly one-fifth (19.2%) illicit drug use (past 3 months). Overall, 43.1% indicated that healthcare providers exhibited hostility towards them. Gay entertainment venue staff were significantly more likely to self-identify as heterosexual/bisexual (versus gay or transgender female), and to have less than high school degree education, higher monthly income, to have engaged in sex in exchange for money, sex with women and unprotected vaginal sex, but were significantly less likely to have engaged in UAS than CBO participants. Targeted interventions for younger MSM and transgender women, for non gay-identified men, and strategies to address structural determinants of risk, including low education and discrimination from healthcare providers, may support HIV prevention among MSM and transgender women, and serve broader national HIV prevention efforts in Thailand.
Men who have sex with men; Transgender women; HIV; Sexual risk behaviors; Thailand
To identify risk factors for hepatitis C among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), focusing on potential sexual, nosocomial, and other non-sexual determinants.
Outbreaks of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among HIV-positive MSM have been reported by clinicians in post-industrialized countries since 2000. The sexual acquisition of HCV by gay men who are HIV positive is not, however, fully understood.
Between 2006 and 2008, a case-control study was embedded into a behavioural survey of MSM in Germany. Cases were HIV-positive and acutely HCV-co-infected, with no history of injection drug use. HIV-positive MSM without known HCV infection, matched for age group, served as controls. The HCV-serostatus of controls was assessed by serological testing of dried blood specimens. Univariable and multivariable regression analyses were used to identify factors independently associated with HCV-co-infection.
34 cases and 67 controls were included. Sex-associated rectal bleeding, receptive fisting and snorting cocaine/amphetamines, combined with group sex, were independently associated with case status. Among cases, surgical interventions overlapped with sex-associated rectal bleeding.
Sexual practices leading to rectal bleeding, and snorting drugs in settings of increased HCV-prevalence are risk factors for acute hepatitis C. We suggest that sharing snorting equipment as well as sharing sexual partners might be modes of sexual transmission. Condoms and gloves may not provide adequate protection if they are contaminated with blood. Public health interventions for HIV-positive gay men should address the role of blood in sexual risk behaviour. Further research is needed into the interplay of proctosurgery and sex-associated rectal bleeding.
Research on gay and other men who have sex with men's (G/MSM) preferences for sexual healthcare services focuses largely on HIV testing and to some extent on sexually transmitted infections (STI). This research illustrates the frequency and location of where G/MSM interface with the healthcare system, but it does not speak to why men seek care in those locations. As HIV and STI prevention strategies evolve, evidence about G/MSM's motivations and decision-making can inform future plans to optimize models of HIV/STI prevention and primary care.
We conducted a phenomenological study of gay men's sexual health seeking experiences, which included 32 in-depth interviews with gay and bisexual men. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and entered into Atlas.ti. We conducted a Framework Analysis.
We identified a continuum of sexual healthcare seeking practices and their associated drivers. Men differed in their preferences for separating sexual healthcare from other forms of healthcare (“fragmentation”) versus combining all care into one location (“consolidation”). Fragmentation drivers included: fear of being monitored by insurance companies, a desire to seek non-judgmental providers with expertise in sexual health, a desire for rapid HIV testing, perceiving sexual health services as more convenient than primary care services, and a lack of healthcare coverage. Consolidation drivers included: a comfortable and trusting relationship with a provider, a desire for one provider to oversee overall health and those with access to public or private health insurance.
Men in this study were likely to separate sexual healthcare from primary care. Based on this finding, we recommend placing new combination HIV/STI prevention interventions within sexual health clinics. Furthermore, given the evolution of the financing and delivery of healthcare services and in HIV prevention, policymakers and clinicians should consider including more primary care services within sexual healthcare settings.
Increasingly, studies show that characteristics of the urban environment influence a wide variety of health behaviors and disease outcomes, yet few studies have focused on the sexual risk behaviors of men who have sex with men (MSM). This focus is important as many gay men reside in or move to urban areas, and sexual risk behaviors and associated outcomes have increased among some urban MSM in recent years. As interventions aimed at changing individual-level risk behaviors have shown mainly short-term effects, consideration of broader environmental influences is needed. Previous efforts to assess the influence of environmental characteristics on sexual behaviors and related health outcomes among the general population have generally applied three theories as explanatory models: physical disorder, social disorganization and social norms theories. In these models, the intervening mechanisms specified to link environmental characteristics to individual-level outcomes include stress, collective efficacy, and social influence processes, respectively. Whether these models can be empirically supported in generating inferences about the sexual behavior of urban MSM is underdeveloped. Conceptualizing sexual risk among MSM to include social and physical environmental characteristics provides a basis for generating novel and holistic disease prevention and health promotion interventions.
HIV; MSM; Sexual risk behavior; Urban environment
Stigma may mediate some of the observed disparity in HIV infection rates between African American and white men who have sex with men (MSM).
We used data from the General Social Survey to describe race-specific trends in the U.S. population’s attitude toward homosexuality, reporting of male same-sex sexual behavior, and behaviors that might mediate the relationship between stigma and HIV transmission among MSM.
The proportion of African Americans who indicated that homosexuality was “always wrong” was 72.3% in 2008, largely unchanged since the 1970s. In contrast, among white respondents, this figure declined from 70.8% in 1973 to 51.6% in 2008, with most change occurring since the early 1990s. Participants who knew a gay person were less likely to have negative attitudes toward homosexuality (RR=0.60, 95% CI: 0.52–0.69). Among MSM, twice as many African American MSM reported that homosexuality is “always wrong” compared to white MSM (57.1% vs. 26.8%, p=0.003). MSM with unfavorable attitudes toward homosexuality were less likely to report ever testing for HIV compared to MSM with more favorable attitudes (RR=0.50, 95% CI: 0.31–0.78).
U.S. attitudes toward homosexuality are characterized by persistent racial differences, which may help explain disparities in HIV infection rates between African American and white MSM.
stigma; homosexuality; men who have sex with men; race; General Social Survey
Disproportionately high HIV/AIDS rates and frequent non-gay identification (NGI) among African American men who have sex with men or with both men and women (MSM/W) highlight the importance of understanding how HIV-positive African American MSM/W perceive safer sex, experience living with HIV, and decide to disclose their HIV status. Thirty predominately seropositive and non-gay identifying African American MSM/W in Los Angeles participated in three semi-structured focus group interviews, and a constant comparison method was used to analyze responses regarding condom use, sexual activity after an HIV diagnosis, and HIV serostatus disclosure. Condom use themes included its protective role against disease and pregnancy, acceptability concerns pertaining to aesthetic factors and effectiveness, and situational influences such as exchange sex, substance use, and suspicions from female partners. Themes regarding the impact of HIV on sexual activity included rejection, decreased partner seeking, and isolation. Serostatus disclosure themes included disclosure to selective partners and personal responsibility. Comprehensive HIV risk-reduction strategies that build social support networks, condom self-efficacy, communication skills, and a sense of collective responsibility among NGI African American MSM/W while addressing HIV stigma in the African American community as a whole are suggested.
African American MSM; Condom use; HIV disclosure; Non-gay identification
This study evaluates associations between internalized homonegativity and demographic factors, drug use behaviors, sexual risk behaviors, and HIV status among men who have sex with men (MSM) and with men and women (MSM/W). Participants were recruited in Los Angeles County using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and completed the Internalized Homonegativity Inventory (IHNI) and questionnaires on demographic and behavioral factors. Biological samples were tested for HIV and for recent cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin use. The 722 MSM and MSM/W participants were predominantly African American (44%) and Hispanic (28%), unemployed (82%), homeless (50%), and HIV positive (48%) who used drugs in the past 6 months (79.5%). Total and Personal Homonegativity, Gay Affirmation, and Morality of Homosexuality IHNI scores were significantly higher for African American men than for other ethnicities, for MSM/W than for MSM, for recent cocaine users than for recent methamphetamine users, and for HIV-seronegative men than for HIV-seropositive men. Linear regression showed the Gay Affirmation scale significantly and inversely correlated with the number of sexual partners when controlling for effects of ethnicity/race and sexual identification, particularly for men who self-identified as straight. Highest IHNI scores were observed in a small group of MSM/W (n = 62) who never tested for HIV. Of these, 26% tested HIV positive. Findings describe ways in which internalized homophobia is a barrier to HIV testing and associated HIV infection and signal distinctions among participants in this sample that can inform targeted HIV prevention efforts aimed at increasing HIV testing.
Homophobia; Homonegativity; Drug abuse; Gay men; Bisexual men; HIV
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are much more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population. China has a sizable population of MSM, including gay, bisexual men, money boys and some rural workers. So reducing HIV infection in this population is an important component of the national HIV/AIDS prevention and control program.
We develop a mathematical model using a sex-role-preference framework to predict HIV infection in the MSM population and to evaluate different intervention strategies.
An analytic formula for the basic reproduction ratio R0 was obtained; this yields R0 = 3.9296 in the current situation, so HIV will spread very fast in the MSM population if no intervention measure is implemented in a timely fashion. The persistence of HIV infection and the existence of disease equilibrium (or equilibria) are also shown. We utilized our model to simulate possible outcomes of antiretroviral therapy and vaccination for the MSM population. We compared the effects of these intervention measures under different assumptions about MSM behaviour. We also found that R0 is a decreasing function of the death rate of HIV-infected individuals, following a power law at least asymptotically.
HIV will spread very fast in the MSM population unless intervention measures are implemented urgently. Antiretroviral therapy can have substantial impact on the reduction of HIV among the MSM population, even if disinhibition is considered. The effect of protected sexual behaviour on controlling the epidemic in the MSM population largely depends on the sex-ratio preference of different sub-populations.
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.
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
Using a sample of 482 ethnically diverse current substance using men who have sex with men (MSM) who reported recent unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), this study compared health risk behaviors – substance use and sexual HIV risk – and one health protective factor – prosocial activities - between men who live in a gay neighborhood and those who do not. Data are drawn from comprehensive health and social risk assessments administered in South Florida. In a multivariate logistic regression model, methamphetamine use, high rates of receptive UAI, and lower levels of prosocial engagement were found to be risk factors associated with gay neighborhood residence. Compared to living elsewhere, gay neighborhood residence appeared to be protective against cocaine use and substance dependence. Implications of the findings for prevention interventions are discussed, as is the need for further research regarding decisions about neighborhood residence and how neighborhood risk and protective factors emerge and are sustained.
MSM; neighborhoods; substance use; sex risk; risk factors
Preliminary evidence has suggested that some transgender men who have sex with non-transgender men (“trans MSM”) may be at risk for HIV and STIs and that their prevention needs are not being met. Quantitative (n = 45) and qualitative (n =15) interviews explored risk behaviors, protective strategies, and perceptions of the impact of transgender identity on sexual decision-making among trans MSM. A majority of the participants reported inconsistent condom use during receptive vaginal and anal sex with non-trans male partners; HIV prevalence was 2.2%. Risk factors included barriers to sexual negotiation including unequal power dynamics, low self-esteem, and need for gender identity affirmation. Protective strategies included meeting and negotiating with potential partners online. Results of this study provide initial evidence that current risk behaviors could lead to rising HIV prevalence rates among trans MSM. Prevention programs must tailor services to include issues unique to trans MSM and their non-trans male partners.
gender identity; HIV/STI prevention; MSM; sexual risk; transgender men
Objective: To assess the impact of a peer education intervention, based in the "gay" bars of Glasgow, which sought to reduce sexual risk behaviours for HIV infection and increase use of a dedicated homosexual men's sexual health service, and in particular increase the uptake of hepatitis B vaccination.
Design: Self completed questionnaires administered to men who have sex with men (MSM) in Glasgow's gay bars.
Subjects: 1442 men completed questionnaires in January 1999, 7 months after the end of the 9 month sexual health intervention.
Main outcome measures: Self reported contact with the peer education intervention, reported behaviour change, and reported sexual health service use.
Results: The Gay Men's Task Force (GMTF) symbol was recognised by 42% of the men surveyed. Among men who reported speaking with peer educators 49% reported thinking about their sexual behaviour and 26% reported changing their sexual behaviour. Logistic regressions demonstrated higher levels of HIV testing, hepatitis B vaccination, and use of sexual health services among men who reported contact with the intervention. These men were more likely to have used the homosexual specific sexual health service. Peer education dose effects were suggested, with the likelihood of HIV testing, hepatitis B vaccination, and use of sexual health services being greater among men who reported talking to peer educators more than once.
Conclusion: The intervention had a direct impact on Glasgow's homosexual men and reached men of all ages and social classes. Higher levels of sexual health service use and uptake of specific services among men who had contact with the intervention are suggestive of an intervention effect. Peer education, as a form of health outreach, appears to be an effective intervention tool in terms of the uptake of sexual health services, but is less effective in achieving actual sexual behaviour change among homosexual men.
Key Words: homosexual men; peer education; sexual behaviour; sexual health service use
Face-to-face (FTF) interviews are the most frequently used means of obtaining information on sexual and drug injecting behaviours from men who have sex with men (MSM) and men who inject drugs (MWID). However, accurate information on these behaviours may be difficult to elicit because of sociocultural hostility towards these populations and the criminalization associated with these behaviours. Audio computer assisted self-interview (ACASI) is an interviewing technique that may mitigate social desirability bias in this context.
This study evaluated differences in the reporting of HIV-related risky behaviours by MSM and MWID using ACASI and FTF interviews. Between August and September 2010, 712 MSM and 328 MWID in Nigeria were randomized to either ACASI or FTF interview for completion of a behavioural survey that included questions on sensitive sexual and injecting risk behaviours. Data were analyzed separately for MSM and MWID. Logistic regression was run for each behaviour as a dependent variable to determine differences in reporting methods.
MSM interviewed via ACASI reported significantly higher risky behaviours with both women (multiple female sexual partners 51% vs. 43%, p = 0.04; had unprotected anal sex with women 72% vs. 57%, p = 0.05) and men (multiple male sex partners 70% vs. 54%, p≤0.001) than through FTF. Additionally, they were more likely to self-identify as homosexual (AOR: 3.3, 95%CI:2.4–4.6) and report drug use in the past 12 months (AOR:40.0, 95%CI: 9.6–166.0). MWID interviewed with ACASI were more likely to report needle sharing (AOR:3.3, 95%CI:1.2–8.9) and re-use (AOR:2.2, 95%CI:1.2–3.9) in the past month and prior HIV testing (AOR:1.6, 95%CI 1.02–2.5).
The feasibility of using ACASI in studies and clinics targeting key populations in Nigeria must be explored to increase the likelihood of obtaining more accurate data on high risk behaviours to inform improved risk reduction strategies that reduce HIV transmission.
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.