XVIII International AIDS Conference


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HIV and other sexually transmitted co-infections by sexual identity among men who have sex with men recruited by respondent driven sampling (RDS) in Buenos Aires, Argentina

A. Carballo-Dieguez1, M. Pando2, I. Balan1, C. Dolezal1, R. Marone3, V. Barreda3, M. Avila2

1Columbia University - HIV Center, New York, NY, United States, 2Universidad de Buenos Aires, Centro Nacional de Referencia para el SIDA, Facultad de Medicina, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 3Nexo Asociación Civil, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Background: The category “men who have sex with men” is used in epidemiology to group same sex behaviors that may result in HIV transmission. Yet, this category may obscure important differences among MSM of different sexual identities. We explored how co-infections with STIs, including HIV, varied by sexual identity among MSM.
Methods: Respondent driven sampling (RDS) was used for the first time in Argentina to recruit MSM. All participants had to be men, 18 years of age or older, residents of Buenos Aires, who reported having had sex with men at least 10 times in their lives and at least once in the past six months. Specimens were collected for HIV and STI detection.
Results: A total of 496 MSM were recruited showing a prevalence of 15.7, 22.9, 7.6, 20.2, 2.5 and 82.9 for HIV, HBV, HCV, T. pallidum (syphilis), Chlamydia and HPV, respectively. (Chlamydia and HPV tests were only performed for 88 and 109 participants.) Men were divided in four groups based on their reported sexual identity: Gay (25%), bisexual (36%), heterosexual (22%), other (17%). We analyzed co-morbidity for those STIs for which we had information for the whole sample (HIV, HBV, HCV, T. pallidum - syphilis).

Number of STIs by sexual orientation
[Number of STIs by sexual orientation]

Conclusions: MSM identified as gay constituted the biggest proportion among those affected with one, two, and three different STIs. Prevention efforts focusing on gay identified men within the MSM group are required. Focusing prevention efforts on MSM as an encompassing category may miss important differences observed according to sexual orientation.

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