Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Hepatitis B and C virus, are emerging public health risks in China, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study aims to assess the magnitude and risks of STIs among Chinese MSM.
Chinese and English peer-reviewed articles were searched in five electronic databases from January 2000 to February 2013. Pooled prevalence estimates for each STI infection were calculated using meta-analysis. Infection risks of STIs in MSM, HIV-positive MSM and male sex workers (MSW) were obtained. This review followed the PRISMA guidelines and was registered in PROSPERO.
Eighty-eight articles (11 in English and 77 in Chinese) investigating 35,203 MSM in 28 provinces were included in this review. The prevalence levels of STIs among MSM were 6.3% (95% CI: 3.5–11.0%) for chlamydia, 1.5% (0.7–2.9%) for genital wart, 1.9% (1.3–2.7%) for gonorrhoea, 8.9% (7.8–10.2%) for hepatitis B (HBV), 1.2% (1.0–1.6%) for hepatitis C (HCV), 66.3% (57.4–74.1%) for human papillomavirus (HPV), 10.6% (6.2–17.6%) for herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) and 4.3% (3.2–5.8%) for Ureaplasma urealyticum. HIV-positive MSM have consistently higher odds of all these infections than the broader MSM population. As a subgroup of MSM, MSW were 2.5 (1.4–4.7), 5.7 (2.7–12.3), and 2.2 (1.4–3.7) times more likely to be infected with chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HCV than the broader MSM population, respectively.
Prevalence levels of STIs among MSW were significantly higher than the broader MSM population. Co-infection of HIV and STIs were prevalent among Chinese MSM. Integration of HIV and STIs healthcare and surveillance systems is essential in providing effective HIV/STIs preventive measures and treatments.
PROSPERO No: CRD42013003721
The MSM (Men who have sex with men) population suffers from very high rates of concurrent psychosocial problems. Together, these problems comprise a syndemic that increases the risk of HIV infection for this community. The precise mechanisms through which this syndemic can raise the likelihood of HIV infection warrant further exploration.
A total of 522 MSM were enrolled via a multiframe sampling approach and were asked to report psychosocial problems, risky sexual behaviors and HIV test results. A count of psychosocial health problems was calculated to test the additive relationship of these factors on HIV risk. Adjusting analysis and restriction analysis were used to determine a proposed intermediate pathway. Psychosocial health problems are highly concurrent and intercorrelated among urban MSM. Greater numbers of health problems are significantly and positively associated with HIV infection, which is mediated, at least partially, by risky sexual behaviors.
MSM experience concurrent psychosocial health problems that correlate with HIV infection in this community. We recommend the development of coping strategies for this population to deal with these psychosocial problems, both in prevention research and health policy.
To review and analyse original studies on HIV prevalence and risk behaviours among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam.
Systematic literature review. Comprehensive identification of material was conducted by systematic electronic searches of selected databases. Inclusion criteria included studies conducted from 2002 onwards, following a systematic review concluding in 2001 conducted by Colby, Nghia Huu and Doussantousse. Data analysis was undertaken through the application of both the Cochrane Collaboration and ePPI Centre approaches to the synthesis of qualitative and quantitative studies.
Sixteen studies, undertaken during 2005–2011, were identified that met the inclusion criteria. The analysis showed that HIV prevalence among MSM in Vietnam has increased significantly (eg, from 9.4% in 2006 to 20% in 2010 in Hanoi) and that protective behaviours, such as condom use and HIV testing and counselling, continue at inadequately low levels.
Increasing HIV prevalence and the lack of effective protective behaviours such as consistent condom use during anal sex among MSM in Vietnam indicate a potential for a more severe HIV epidemic in the future unless targeted and segmented comprehensive HIV prevention strategies for MSM in Vietnam are designed and programmes implemented.
HIV; AIDS; Homosexuality; Gay men; Sexual behaviour
Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the group most at risk of acquiring HIV infection in Britain. HIV prevalence appears to vary widely between MSM from different ethnic minority groups in this country for reasons that are not fully understood. The aim of the MESH project was to examine in detail the sexual health of ethnic minority MSM living in Britain.
The main objectives of the MESH project were to explore among ethnic minority MSM living in Britain: (i) sexual risk behaviour and HIV prevalence; (ii) their experience of stigma and discrimination; (iii) disclosure of sexuality; (iv) use of, and satisfaction with sexual health services; (v) the extent to which sexual health services (for treatment and prevention) are aware of the needs of ethnic minority MSM.
The research was conducted between 2006 and 2008 in four national samples: (i) ethnic minority MSM living in Britain; (ii) a comparison group of white British MSM living in Britain; (iii) NHS sexual health clinic staff in 15 British towns and cities with significant ethnic minority communities and; (iv) sexual health promotion/HIV prevention service providers. We also recruited men from two "key migrant" groups living in Britain: MSM born in Central or Eastern Europe and MSM born in Central or South America.
Internet-based quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. Ethnic minority MSM were recruited through advertisements on websites, in community venues, via informal networks and in sexual health clinics. White and "key migrant" MSM were recruited mostly through Gaydar, one of the most popular dating sites used by gay men in Britain. MSM who agreed to take part completed a questionnaire online. Ethnic minority MSM who completed the online questionnaire were asked if they would be willing to take part in an online qualitative interview using email.
Service providers were identified through the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) CHAPS partnerships. Staff who agreed to take part were asked to complete a questionnaire online.
The online survey was completed by 1241 ethnic minority MSM, 416 men born in South and Central America or Central and Eastern Europe, and 13,717 white British MSM; 67 ethnic minority MSM took part in the online qualitative interview. In addition 364 people working in sexual health clinics and 124 health promotion workers from around Britain completed an online questionnaire.
The findings from this study will improve our understanding of the sexual health and needs of ethnic minority MSM in Britain.
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.
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.
This paper presents an evaluation of Avahan, a large scale HIV prevention program that was implemented using peer-mediated strategies, condom distribution and sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinical services among high-risk men who have sex with men (HR-MSM) and male to female transgender persons (TGs) in six high-prevalence state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India.
Two rounds of large scale cross-sectional bio-behavioural surveys among HR-MSM and TGs and routine program monitoring data were used to assess changes in program coverage, condom use and prevalence of STIs (including HIV) and their association to program exposure.
The Avahan program for HR-MSM and TGs in Tamil Nadu was significantly scaled up and contacts by peer educators reached 77 percent of the estimated denominator by the end of the program’s fourth year. Exposure to the program increased between the two rounds of surveys for both HR-MSM (from 66 percent to 90 percent; AOR = 4.6; p < 0.001) and TGs (from 74.5 percent to 83 percent; AOR = 1.82; p < 0.06). There was an increase in consistent condom use by HR-MSM with their regular male partners (from 33 percent to 46 percent; AOR = 1.9; p < 0.01). Last time condom use with paying male partners (up from 81 percent to 94 percent; AOR = 3.6; p < 0.001) also showed an increase. Among TGs, the increase in condom use with casual male partners (18 percent to 52 percent; AOR = 1.8; p < 0.27) was not significant, and last time condom use declined significantly with paying male partners (93 percent to 80 percent; AOR = 0.32; p < 0.015). Syphilis declined significantly among both HR-MSM (14.3 percent to 6.8 percent; AOR = 0.37; p < 0.001) and TGs (16.6 percent to 4.2 percent; AOR = 0.34; p < 0.012), while change in HIV prevalence was not found to be significant for HR-MSM (9.7 percent to 10.9 percent) and TGs (12 percent to 9.8 percent). For both groups, change in condom use with commercial and non-commercial partners was found to be strongly linked with exposure to the Avahan program.
The Avahan program for HR-MSM and TGs in Tamil Nadu achieved a high coverage, resulting in improved condom use by HR-MSM with their regular and commercial male partners. Declining STI prevalence and stable HIV prevalence reflect the positive effects of the prevention strategy. Outcomes from the program logic model indiacte the effectiveness of the program for HR-MSM and TGs in Tamil Nadu.
To learn more about risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam and their prevalence of HIV, we conducted a study among MSM in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to determine HIV-1 prevalence and behaviors associated with infection. This consisted of formative (35 MSM) and cross-sectional (600 MSM) studies at 72 sites, including 75 transvestites, 55 bisexuals, 10 sex workers, and 460 other MSM. Only 5.3% cohabited with a wife/girlfriend, but 30% reported ever having sex with a female. Prevalence of HIV was 8%, ranging from 33% in sex workers to 7% among transvestites and other MSM. Injecting drugs, selling sex, being 20–40 years old, having less than 6 years of education, and having more than five male anal sex partners in the past month were associated with being HIV-infected. MSM are an HIV bridge group, and should be included in sentinel surveillance. Targeted interventions should be implemented.
HIV; Men having sex with men (MSM); Vietnam; Injection drug users (IDUs); Commercial sex workers (CSWs)
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
To describe sociodemographics, sexual risk behavior, and estimate HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Mumbai, India.
Eight hundred thirty-one MSM attending voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services at the Humsafar Trust, answered a behavioral questionnaire and consented for Venereal Disease Research Laboratory and HIV testing from January 2003 through December 2004. Multivariate logistic regression was performed for sociodemographics, sexual risk behavior, and STIs with HIV result as an outcome.
HIV prevalence among MSM was 12.5%. MSM who were illiterate [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.28; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08 to 4.84], married (AOR 2.70; 95% CI: 1,56 to 4.76), preferred male partners (AOR 4.68; 95% CI: 1.90 to 11.51), had partners of both genders (AOR 2.73; 95% CI: 1.03 to 7.23), presented with an STI (AOR 3.31; 95% CI: 1.96 to 5.61); or presented with a reactive venereal disease research laboratory test (AOR 4.92; 95% CI: 2.55 to 9.53) at their VCT visit were more likely to be HIV infected.
MSM accessing VCT services in Mumbai have a high risk of STI and HIV acquisition. Culturally appropriate interventions that focus on sexual risk behavior and promote condom use among MSM, particularly the bridge population of bisexual men, are needed to slow the urban Indian AIDS epidemic.
bisexual; homosexual; India; men who have sex with men; Mumbai; voluntary counseling and testing
Few behavioral interventions have been conducted to reduce high-risk sexual behavior among HIV-positive Men who have Sex with Men (HIV+MSM). Hence, we lack well-proven interventions for this population.
Positive Connections is a randomized controlled trial (n=675 HIV+MSM) comparing the effects of two sexual health seminars – for HIV+MSM and all MSM – with a contrast prevention video arm. Baseline, 6-, 12- and 18-month follow-up surveys assessed important psychosexual variables and frequency of serodiscordant unprotected anal intercourse (SDUAI).
At post-test, intentions to avoid transmission were significantly higher in the sexual health arms. However, SDUAI frequency decreased equally across all arms, from 15.0 at baseline to 11.5 at 18 months. HIV+MSM engaging in SDUAI at baseline were more likely to leave the study.
Tailoring interventions to HIV+MSM does not appear to increase the effectiveness of HIV prevention. A sexual health approach appears no more effective than video-based HIV prevention.
HIV+MSM; MSM; HIV prevention; behavioral interventions; unsafe sex; prevention for positives
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
The Sexual Acquisition and Transmission of HIV Cooperative Agreement Program (SATHCAP) examined the role of drug use in the sexual transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from traditional high-risk groups, such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and drug users (DU), to lower risk groups in three US cities and in St. Petersburg, Russia. SATHCAP employed respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and a dual high-risk group sampling approach that relied on peer recruitment for a combined, overlapping sample of MSM and DU. The goal of the sampling approach was to recruit an RDS sample of MSM, DU, and individuals who were both MSM and DU (MSM/DU), as well as a sample of sex partners of MSM, DU, and MSM/DU and sex partners of sex partners. The approach efficiently yielded a sample of 8,355 participants, including sex partners, across all four sites. At the US sites—Los Angeles, Chicago, and Raleigh–Durham—the sample consisted of older (mean age = 41 years), primarily black MSM and DU (both injecting and non-injecting); in St. Petersburg, the sample consisted of primarily younger (mean age = 28 years) MSM and DU (injecting). The US sites recruited a large proportion of men who have sex with men and with women, an important group with high potential for establishing a generalized HIV epidemic involving women. The advantage of using the dual high-risk group approach and RDS was, for the most part, the large, efficiently recruited samples of MSM, DU, and MSM/DU. The disadvantages were a recruitment bias by race/ethnicity and income status (at the US sites) and under-enrollment of MSM samples because of short recruitment chains (at the Russian site).
Respondent-driven sampling; HIV; MSM; MSMW; DU; IDU; SATHCAP
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
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.
Where surveillance has been done, it has shown that men (MSM) who have sex with men bear a disproportionate burden of HIV. Yet they continue to be excluded, sometimes systematically, from HIV services because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation. This situation must change if global control of the HIV epidemic is to be achieved. On both public health and human rights grounds, expansion of HIV prevention, treatment, and care to MSM is an urgent imperative. Effective combination prevention and treatment approaches are feasible, and culturally competent care can be developed, even in rights-challenged environments. Condom and lubricant access for MSM globally is highly cost effective. Antiretroviral-based prevention, and antiretroviral access for MSM globally, would also be cost effective, but would probably require substantial reductions in drug costs in high-income countries to be feasible. To address HIV in MSM will take continued research, political will, structural reform, community engagement, and strategic planning and programming, but it can and must be done.
In Vietnam, men who have sex with men (MSM) are highly affected by HIV and need new targeted HIV prevention strategies.
To assess the willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care and associated factors among MSM in Ho Chi Minh City.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 2012. Participants were recruited using a convenience sampling method in venues most frequented by MSM and completed a self-administered questionnaire. Logistic regression models were performed to estimate factors associated with the willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care.
A total of 358 MSM were approached for the survey and 222 questionnaires (62.0%) were eligible for analyses. Overall, 76.1% of the respondents reported that they were willing to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care. A number of male partners in last year less than or equal to 3 (Adjusted Odds Ratio: 3.07, 95% Confidence interval: 1.40–6.73), a history of STI screening (4.10, 1.02–16.48) and HIV testing (3.23, 1.20–8.64) and having ever sought a male sexual partner through the Internet (3.56, 1.55–8.18) were significantly positively associated with the willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care.
The MSM interviewed in Ho Chi Minh City reported a high willingness to use the Internet to seek information on HIV prevention and care. In a context where new media are increasingly considered as promising options for reaching this HIV risk group, further research should be conducted on developing and testing tailored online tools adapted to the needs of Vietnamese MSM.
Despite the knowledge that men who have sex with men (MSM) are more likely to be infected with HIV across settings, there has been little investigation of the experiences of MSM who are living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Using the framework of positive health, dignity and prevention, we explored the experiences and HIV prevention, care and treatment needs of MSM who are living with HIV in Swaziland.
We conducted 40 in-depth interviews with 20 HIV-positive MSM, 16 interviews with key informants and three focus groups with MSM community members. Qualitative analysis was iterative and included debriefing sessions with a study staff, a stakeholders’ workshop and coding for key themes using Atlas.ti.
The predominant theme was the significant and multiple forms of stigma and discrimination faced by MSM living with HIV in this setting due to both their sexual identity and HIV status. Dual stigma led to selective disclosure or lack of disclosure of both identities, and consequently a lack of social support for care-seeking and medication adherence. Perceived and experienced stigma from healthcare settings, particularly around sexual identity, also led to delayed care-seeking, travel to more distant clinics and missed opportunities for appropriate services. Participants described experiences of violence and lack of police protection as well as mental health challenges. Key informants, however, reflected on their duty to provide non-discriminatory services to all Swazis regardless of personal beliefs.
Intersectionality provides a framework for understanding the experiences of dual stigma and discrimination faced by MSM living with HIV in Swaziland and highlights how programmes and policies should consider the specific needs of this population when designing HIV prevention, care and treatment services. In Swaziland, the health sector should consider providing specialized training for healthcare providers, distributing condoms and lubricants and engaging MSM as peer outreach workers or expert clients. Interventions to reduce stigma, discrimination and violence against MSM and people living with HIV are also needed for both healthcare workers and the general population. Finally, research on experiences and needs of MSM living with HIV globally can help inform comprehensive HIV services for this population.
men who have sex with men; positive health dignity and prevention; people living with HIV; qualitative research; Swaziland
The prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to increase among certain populations including young men who have sex with men (MSM). College campuses represent a potential setting to engage young adults and institute prevention interventions including HIV testing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate testing practices for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on college campuses.
Medical directors at four-year residential baccalaureate college health centers in New England were surveyed from June, 2011 to September, 2011. Thirty-one interviews were completed regarding experiences with HIV testing, acute HIV infection, other STI testing, and outreach efforts targeting specific at-risk groups such as MSM.
Among schools that responded to the survey, less than five percent of students were tested for HIV at their local college health center in the past academic year (2010–2011). Significant barriers to HIV testing included cost and availability of rapid antibody testing. One-third of college health medical directors reported that their practitioners may not feel comfortable recognizing acute HIV infection.
Improved HIV testing practices are needed on college campuses. Programs should focus on outreach efforts targeting MSM and other at-risk populations.
HIV; College; STI; Prevention
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
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have been among the most affected populations by HIV since the AIDS pandemic was first identified in the 1980s. Evidence from a wide range of studies show that these men remain at the highest risk for HIV acquisition in both developed and developing countries, and that despite three decades of evidence of their vulnerability to HIV, they remain under-served and under-studied. Prevention strategies targeted to MSM are markedly under-funded in most countries, leading to limited access to health services including prevention, treatment, and care. We explore the global epidemic among MSM in 2008, the limited funding available globally to respond to these epidemics, and the human rights contexts and factors which drive HIV spread and limit HIV responses for these men.
What do we mean by the term MSM? MSM is a construct from the 1990s that tries to capture behavior and not identity. It was crafted to avoid stigmatizing and culturally laden terms such as gay or bisexual, which do not capture the wide diversity of orientations, sexual practices, cultures, and contextual settings in which male same-sex behaviors occur, and where HIV transmission and acquisition risks are centered. MSM includes both gay and non-gay identified men, bisexual men, and MSM who identify themselves as heterosexuals. It also includes men engaging in "situational" sex between men, such as can occur in prisons, schools, militaries or other environments; and it includes male sex workers who may be of any orientation but are often at very high risk for HIV. MSM may include some biologically male transgender persons, though some do not identify as male. And MSM includes a wide array of traditional and local terms worldwide–with enormous cultural diversity in Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. We use the term MSM here at its most inclusive.
While male-to-male sexual behavior has been recognized as a primary risk factor for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), research targeting men who have sex with men (MSM) in less-developed countries has been limited due to high levels of stigma and discrimination. In response, the Population Council’s Horizons Program began implementing research activities in Africa and South America beginning in 2001, with the objectives of gathering information on MSM sexual risk behaviors, evaluating HIV-prevention programs, and informing HIV policy makers. The results of this nearly decade-long program are presented in this article as a summary of the Horizons MSM studies in Africa (Senegal and Kenya) and Latin America (Brazil and Paraguay), and include research methodologies, study findings, and interventions evaluated. We also discuss future directions and approaches for HIV research among MSM in developing countries.
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
HIV prevalence is increasing at a concerning rate among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China. Numerous studies have reported on levels of behaviors of Chinese MSM for different types of sexual partnerships, such as regular, non-commercial casual and commercial. This study aims to investigate the trends HIV incidence rates in relation to their risk sexual behaviors and partnership types among Chinese MSM.
Through a comprehensive literature research from available English and Chinese literature databases, we collated relevant information of sexual behaviors of Chinese MSM. Further, with the utilization of a mathematical optimization approach, this study reconciles the distributions of sexual behavioral data over the last decade and infers the heterogeneous distributions of behavioral patterns among Chinese MSM. Distributions of high-risk behavioural indicators, including the number of sexual partners, number of sexual acts and condom usage in the past 6 months, are calibrated to available empirical data. Based on the resultant temporal trends in these distributions, the trends in HIV incidence rates associated with each type of partnership among MSM in China are also estimated.
A total of 55 qualified articles have been identified. An average MSM has approximately 0.96 (95% CI, 0.59-1.18) regular, 3.75 (1.72-6.25) casual and 1.61 (0.97-2.78) commercial partners over a 6 month period and 4.33 (2.81-6.46), 1.42 (0.62-3.08), 1.48 (0.79-3.30) sexual acts per partnership respectively, corresponding to a total of 11.87 (8.87-15.25) acts. Condom usage has increased significantly during 2002–2010, at annual increases of 3.58% (2.98-4.12%), 5.55% (4.55-6.54%), and 5.03% (4.19-5.74%) for regular, casual and commercial partners respectively. These behavioral data implies an increase in HIV incidence of approximately 3.3-fold, from 2.04 (1.96-2.12) to 7.02 (6.71-7.35) per 1000 person-years during the same period. The proportion of new infections attributed to regular partnerships increased from 34% to 40%, whereas infections attributed to commercial partnerships reduced from 29% to 23% during 2002–2010.
Regular partnerships are the main contributor of new HIV cases among MSM in China, public health intervention strategies are required to increase condom usage and HIV testing rates among regular partners to curb the growing trend HIV incidence.
Men who have sex with men; MSM; China; HIV; Incidence; Sexual behaviors
Among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County, methamphetamine use is associated with high rates of HIV prevalence and sexual risk behaviors. In four separate samples of MSM who differed in the range of their intensity of methamphetamine use, from levels of recreational use to chronic use to those for MSM seeking drug abuse treatment, the association between methamphetamine use and HIV infection increased as the intensity of use increased. The lowest HIV prevalence rate (23%) was observed among MSM contacted through street outreach who mentioned recent methamphetamine use, followed by MSM who used at least once a month for six months (42%), followed by MSM seeking intensive outpatient treatment (61%). The highest rate (86%) was observed among MSM seeking residential treatment for methamphetamine dependence. The interleaving nature of these epidemics calls for comprehensive strategies that address methamphetamine use and concomitant sexual behaviors that increase risk of HIV transmission in this group already at high risk. These and other data suggest that MSM who infrequently use methamphetamine may respond to lower intensity/lower cost prevention and early intervention programs while those who use the drug at dependence levels may benefit from high intensity treatment to achieve goals of reduced drug use and HIV-risk sexual behaviors.
Methamphetamine; HIV; MSM.