Introduction Timely uptake of clinical services by highly mobile MSM is pre-requisite to halt and reverse STI prevalence among communities in India. It is imperative to understand risk behaviour and vulnerable factors that lead to the spread of STI among communities. A study was undertaken to understand the sexual behaviour, vulnerabilities, among MSM attending STI clinic of the CBO at Kancheepuram District, Tamilnadu, India.
Method In the study 69 (72%) clinic attendees for a period of 9 months were followed up and interviewed at the STI clinic within the project. Consent and commitment was taken from the clinical attendees to be enrolled in the study. The project counsellor administered the questionnaire followed by clinical examination by the project Clinical provider.
Results Among the 69 MSM, 75.3%were 20–30 years & 11%were 31–40 years, 4.3% were above 50 years. Majority were from lower socioeconomic strata of the society and consisted of illiterate people also. 10% were uneducated, 27% Graduates and 44% had 5–10th grade education. About one-third (23.2 %) were married heterosexually. 65% reported travel to other states and 88% reported travel to other districts during the period of study. Among these 70% reported unprotected anal sex with casual partners during travel. Sexual behaviour: During the study period more than two-third (75.3%) had anal sex and all 69 MSM had oral sex. Condom usage, before and after counselling was 6% and 53.6% respectively. 15.9 % had sex with female sex workers and 25% received money for sex. 43% MSM had sex only for pleasure and 32% have sex for both pleasure and money.
Conclusion It is imperative that the project develop specific programs like Partners meet or Lovers meet to introduce their partners to the project and thereby sensitise them on prevention of STI and increase condom use. Programs like “pre-departure counselling” about risks on unprotected casual encounters for MSM planning travel and “post- travel STI screening” should be attempted. Regular and periodic STI screening among MSM and partners may be implemented. This will help the project in addressing the risk of transmission of infections among the partners. Partners meet will be a platform for addressing greater Sexual behavioural issues beyond normative clinical interventions. Early diagnosis and Intervention of anal STI, regular Condom use and repeated Counselling are imperative to halt and reverse the STI epidemic among the MSM community.