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1.  Men having sex with men serosorting with casual partners: who, how much, and what risk factors in Switzerland, 2007-2009 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:839.
Background
Serosorting is practiced by men who have sex with men (MSM) to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission. This study evaluates the prevalence of serosorting with casual partners, and analyses the characteristics and estimated numbers of serosorters in Switzerland 2007-2009.
Methods
Data were extracted from cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009 among self-selected MSM recruited online, through gay newspapers, and through gay organizations. Nested models were fitted to ascertain the appropriateness of pooling the datasets. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed on pooled data to determine the association between serosorting and demographic, lifestyle-related, and health-related factors. Extrapolations were performed by applying proportions of various types of serosorters to Swiss population data collected in 2007.
Results
A significant and stable number of MSM (approximately 39% in 2007 and 2009) intentionally engage in serosorting with casual partners in Switzerland. Variables significantly associated with serosorting were: gay organization membership (aOR = 1.67), frequent internet use for sexual encounters (aOR = 1.71), having had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) at any time in the past 12 months (aOR = 1.70), HIV-positive status (aOR = 0.52), regularly frequenting sex-on-premises venues (aOR = 0.42), and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with partners of different or unknown HIV status in the past 12 months (aOR = 0.22). Approximately one-fifth of serosorters declared HIV negativity without being tested in the past 12 months; 15.8% reported not knowing their own HIV status.
Conclusion
The particular risk profile of serosorters having UAI with casual partners (multiple partners, STI history, and inadequate testing frequency) requires specific preventive interventions tailored to HIV status.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-839
PMCID: PMC3848594  PMID: 24025364
Sexual risk behaviour; Men who have sex with men; Serosorting; HIV; Switzerland
2.  Methadone treatments in a Swiss Region, 2001–2008: a registry-based analysis 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:238.
Background
To determine, in a region of Switzerland, the duration of retention in opioid substitution treatments with methadone (OSTM), duration of treatment interruptions, probability of re-entry to treatment after a treatment interruption, and associated factors.
Methods
A secondary analysis of registry-based data was performed with patients (n = 2880) registered in the methadone treatment register database of the Public Health Service of the canton of Vaud between January 1, 2001 and June 30, 2008. Survival analysis and multivariate analysis was conducted.
Results
The probability of remaining on treatment was 69% at 1 year and 45% at 3 years (n =1666). One-third of patients remained on treatment beyond 5 years. The estimated hazard of leaving treatment was increased by a ratio of 1.31 in the case of a first treatment (P = 0.001), 1.83 for those without a fixed home (P < 0.001), and 1.29 for those younger than 30 years old (P < 0.001). The probability of having begun a new treatment after a first interruption was 21% at one year, 38% at 3 years, and 43% at 5 years (n = 1581). Factors at the interruption of treatment associated with a higher probability of re-entering were: interruption not due to methadone withdrawal, bad physical health, and higher methadone dose.
Conclusions
OSTM are long-term (maintenance) treatments in Switzerland. Younger age, bad living conditions at entry, and first treatment are predictors of lower retention. Approximately one-half of patients who interrupt treatment will re-enter treatment within 5 years.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-238
PMCID: PMC3543381  PMID: 23270305
Opioid substitution; Methadone maintenance; Methadone registry; Treatment duration; Treatment interruption; Switzerland
3.  Five-year monitoring of a gay-friendly voluntary counselling and testing facility in Switzerland: who got tested and why? 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:422.
Background
An increase in new HIV cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been reported in Switzerland since 2001. A rapid result HIV testing for MSM through voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) facility (“Checkpoint”) was opened in Geneva in 2005. This gay-friendly facility, the first to open in Switzerland, provides testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and rapid result HIV testing and counselling. Our objective was to analyze Checkpoint’s activity over its first five years of activity and its ability to attract at-risk MSM.
Methods
We used routine data collected anonymously about the facility activity (number of clients, number of tests, and test results) and about the characteristics of the clientele (sociodemographic data, sexual risk behaviour, and reasons for testing) from 2005 to 2009.
Results
The yearly number of HIV tests performed increased from 249 in 2005 to 561 in 2009. The annual proportion of positive tests among tests performed varied between 2% and 3%. Among MSM clients, the median annual number of anal intercourse (AI) partners was three. Roughly 30% of all MSM clients had at least one unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) experience in the previous 12 months with a partner of different/unknown HIV status.
The main reason for testing in 2007, 2008, and 2009 was “sexual risk exposure” (~40%), followed by “routine” testing (~30%) and “condom stopping in the beginning of a new steady relationship” (~10%). Clients who came to the facility after a sexual risk exposure, compared to clients who came for "routine testing" or "condom stopping" reasons, had the highest number of AI partners in the previous 12 months, were more likely to have had UAI with a partner of different/unknown HIV status in the previous 12 months (respectively 57.3%, 12.5%, 23.5%), more likely to have had an STI diagnosed in the past (41.6%, 32.2%, 22.9%), and more likely to report recent feelings of sadness or depression (42.6%; 32.8%, 18.5%).
Conclusion
Many of Checkpoint's clients reported elevated sexual risk exposure and risk factors, and the annual proportion of new HIV cases in the facility is stable. This VCT facility attracts the intended population and appears to be a useful tool contributing to the fight against the HIV epidemic among MSM in Switzerland.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-422
PMCID: PMC3487742  PMID: 22682345
Anonymous HIV counselling and testing; Homosexuality; Gay-friendly facility; Monitoring; Switzerland
4.  Mapping HIV/STI behavioural surveillance in Europe 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:290.
Background
Used in conjunction with biological surveillance, behavioural surveillance provides data allowing for a more precise definition of HIV/STI prevention strategies. In 2008, mapping of behavioural surveillance in EU/EFTA countries was performed on behalf of the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control.
Method
Nine questionnaires were sent to all 31 member States and EEE/EFTA countries requesting data on the overall behavioural and second generation surveillance system and on surveillance in the general population, youth, men having sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users (IDU), sex workers (SW), migrants, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics patients. Requested data included information on system organisation (e.g. sustainability, funding, institutionalisation), topics covered in surveys and main indicators.
Results
Twenty-eight of the 31 countries contacted supplied data. Sixteen countries reported an established behavioural surveillance system, and 13 a second generation surveillance system (combination of biological surveillance of HIV/AIDS and STI with behavioural surveillance). There were wide differences as regards the year of survey initiation, number of populations surveyed, data collection methods used, organisation of surveillance and coordination with biological surveillance. The populations most regularly surveyed are the general population, youth, MSM and IDU. SW, patients of STI clinics and PLWHA are surveyed less regularly and in only a small number of countries, and few countries have undertaken behavioural surveys among migrant or ethnic minorities populations. In many cases, the identification of populations with risk behaviour and the selection of populations to be included in a BS system have not been formally conducted, or are incomplete. Topics most frequently covered are similar across countries, although many different indicators are used. In most countries, sustainability of surveillance systems is not assured.
Conclusion
Although many European countries have established behavioural surveillance systems, there is little harmonisation as regards the methods and indicators adopted. The main challenge now faced is to build and maintain organised and functional behavioural and second generation surveillance systems across Europe, to increase collaboration, to promote robust, sustainable and cost-effective data collection methods, and to harmonise indicators.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-290
PMCID: PMC2959062  PMID: 20920339
5.  Sexual behaviour of men that consulted in medical outpatient clinics in Western Switzerland from 2005-2006: risk levels unknown to doctors? 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:528.
Background
To determine male outpatient attenders' sexual behaviours, expectations and experience of talking about their sexuality and sexual health needs with a doctor.
Methods
A survey was conducted among all male patients aged 18-70, recruited from the two main medical outpatient clinics in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2005-2006. The anonymous self-administered questionnaire included questions on sexual behaviour, HIV/STI information needs, expectations and experiences regarding discussion of sexual matters with a doctor.
Results
The response rate was 53.0% (N = 1452). The mean age was 37.7 years. Overall, 13.4% of patients were defined as at STI risk - i.e. having not consistently used condoms with casual partners in the last 6 months, or with a paid partner during the last intercourse - regarding their sexual behaviour in the last year. 90.9% would have liked their physician to ask them questions concerning their sexual life; only 61.4% had ever had such a discussion. The multivariate analysis showed that patients at risk tended to have the following characteristics: recruited from the HIV testing clinic, lived alone, declared no religion, had a low level of education, felt uninformed about HIV/AIDS, were younger, had had concurrent sexual partners in the last 12 months. However they were not more likely to have discussed sexual matters with their doctor than patients not at risk.
Conclusion
Recording the sexual history and advice on the prevention of the risks of STI should become routine practice for primary health care doctors.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-528
PMCID: PMC2939648  PMID: 20813029

Results 1-5 (5)