Background Men with high-risk sexually behaviour are important drivers of HIV/STI infections in the general population. Prevention of HIV/STIs among such men could potentially reduce these infections especially among women - who bear the greatest HIV/STIs disease burden in sub Saharan Africa. We sought to understand immunovirology of HPV infections among fishermen. This evaluation highlights the rate of HIV infections in this population.
Methods Three hundred fishermen were recruited and followed up every 3 months for 1 year. HIV, syphilis serology, CD4/CD8 and complete blood count were evaluated and a demographic questionnaire administered. Data was analysed by SPSS ver18.
Results The 300 men recruited into this study had mean age of 28 years, 76% were married and 57% had only basic education. The mean for age of sexual debut and lifetime sexual partners was 15 years and 10 respectively. They had a modal sexual activity of 3 times/week and a mean of 3 rounds/sexual act. Sixty one (20%) had practised oral sex. Thirty six (12%) and 80 (27%) of men washed their genitals, before and after sex respectively. A significant number of men; 183 (61%) P < 0.01 and 118 (39%) P < 0.05, never used condoms with their regular sexual partners and new sexual partners respectively. They had a mean CD4 and white blood cell (WBC) count of 830 cells/ml and 5.6 × 109/L of blood. Baseline HIV and syphilis prevalence was 23% and 9% respectively. The HIV incidence during the 1 year follow-up was 4.2%. Fishermen HIV burden was over 3 times the Kenyan national HIV prevalence of 7%.
Conclusion Fishermen in this context, comprise a young sexually high-risk, highly-migratory population with high HIV incidence and prevalence. Low condom use coupled with concurrent multiple sexual partnerships make them a potential key population who require targeted prevention strategies to reduce HIV/STI infections and transmission.