Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Brazil have a twice higher HIV prevalence than female sex workers and a 3 times higher prevalence than drug users, according to the first national biological and behavioral survey for HIV among MSM in Brazil.
MSM account for high proportions of HIV-positive people in many Western countries. To determine HIV prevalence in MSM in Brazil, researchers conducted this study using respondent-driven sampling to recruit men who had sex with another man in the last 12 months in 10 cities.
All study participants were at least 18 years old and lived in one of the 10 study cities. The researchers used self-reported HIV status and logistic regression analysis to impute missing values for HIV status. UNAIDS estimates that Brazil had an HIV prevalence of 0.3% among people 15 and older.
Researchers interviewed 3859 MSM, most of whom identified themselves as mulatto or black. Study participants generally had a low education level and were primarily in social class C or lower. More than 80% of men reported having more than one sex partner in the last 6 months. Only 49% of study participants had been tested for HIV.
HIV prevalence ranged from 5.2% to 23.7% in the 10 cities. For all 10 cities combined, with imputation, estimated HIV prevalence was 14.2%.
Overall prevalence in the men studied was 2 times higher than in female sex workers in Brazil and 3 times higher than in drug users. Half of the men who tested positive for HIV in the study were not aware they had HIV infection.
“The AIDS epidemic in Brazil is disproportionately concentrated among MSM,” the researchers conclude. They call for “renewed efforts to encourage testing, prevention and treatment.”
By Mark Mascolini
Full Story - International AIDS Society