Introduction MSM in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) are disproportionately affected by STI: 39% of all HIV diagnoses, 33% of gonorrhoea and 55% of syphilis cases were reported among MSM in 2011.
Methods Analyses of surveillance data and information from countries responses for Dublin Declaration monitoring were combined with a review of existing national prevention intervention programmes targeted at MSM. Characteristics of 118 prevention interventions studies were included in the repository.
Results Outbreaks of syphilis, hepatitis C and lymphogranuloma venereum and increasing trends of gonorrhoea and HIV among MSM, observed between 1995–2011, were reported to be associated with high levels of risk behaviour, sexual networking and socio-economic and cultural factors. The national responses included: strenghtening of surveillance, prevention and care; enhanced partner notification; and development of a range of prevention intervention programmes. The majority of prevention interventions used media campaigns, education and counselling followed by harm reduction strategies like condom distribution and HIV/STI testing alone or combined with other activities. Nearly half of the behavioural interventions studies reported proper outcome evaluation.
In 2012, HIV/STI prevention programmes targeted to MSM were implemented in 22/30 EU/EEA countries, with non-governmental organisations playing a key role in programme implementation through campaigns, outreach work, information provision and condom distribution. Reported coverage of HIV prevention programmes for MSM ranged from 43% to 76% across countries. Rates of HIV testing among MSM during the last 12 month ranged from 12% to 74% and rates of condom use at last anal intercourse from 42% to 64%.
Conclusion Diversity across EU/EEA in the design and implementation of prevention intervention strategies reflects various characteristics of MSM populations and the changing epidemiology of STI/HIV. A common need exists for improving the effectiveness of prevention intervention programmes, for targeting young, migrant and ethnic-minority MSM and for ensuring adequate funding.