Background Adult HIV prevalence in Jamaica is 1.7% while rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) were 32% in a 2007 survey. Following this survey prevention interventions among MSM were increased. The objective of this study was to estimate HIV rates among MSM in 2011 and compare findings with the 2007 survey.
Methods An experienced research nurse attended prevention workshops for MSM as well as their social activities and invited MSM to participate in a cross sectional survey. MSM were interviewed and tested for HIV and other STIs. Sensitive behavioural data was interviewer administered and self-completed. Confidential results were given to participants with treatment as indicated. Ethical approval and informed consent was obtained. The 2011 survey is ongoing so results are preliminary.
Results 33% of 157 MSM were HIV positive in 2011 compared with 32% of 201 MSM in 2007. In 2011, 8 of 157 (5.1%) MSM were positive for syphilis and 3.8% were indeterminate. 12 of 139 MSM (8.9%) were positive for Chlamydia and 2 (1.4%) had gonorrhoea. In 2007 HIV positive MSM were more likely to ever have a STI (37.5% vs 19.0%, p=0.004) and to be receptive (73.4% vs 59.1%, p=0.005). 33% of MSM reported sex with a woman in the past 4 weeks and 65% reported ever having sex with a woman. Nearly 60% of HIV positive MSM had not disclosed their status to their partner. MSM who were of low socio-economic status, ever homeless and victims of physical violence were significantly more likely to be HIV positive.
Conclusions HIV prevalence among MSM remains unacceptably high. MSM are more socially vulnerable than the general population. Many MSM reported having sex with a woman and not disclosing their HIV status to their partners. MSM are likely to act as a bridge for HIV into the general population. Prevention efforts among MSM need to be scaled up urgently and measures taken to reduce their social vulnerability including stigma and discrimination.
Abstract P1-S2.61 Figure 1