Introduction Canvassing venues where people meet social or sexual partners is an effective and efficient means of identifying syphilis cases for transmission control and may be important to access MSM at high risk for HIV transmission for PrEP delivery. The objective was to determine variability in the frequency of report and transmission risk across sex partner meeting venues reported by HIV and/or syphilis positive MSM.
Methods Routinely reported public health surveillance data from early syphilis and/or HIV positive MSM between 2009–2015 in a U.S. mid-Atlantic city were utilised. Past 3 month sex partner meeting venues were collected as a part of routine partner services. Venue geometric mean syphilis titer load (VTL) and HIV viral load (VVL) were calculated and tested using generalised linear additive models with random effects.
Results There were 1870 cases-63%(1177) syphilis, 37%(693) HIV. 88% (1641) were interviewed; among these, 48% (790) reported >1 venue and were on average aged 31(SD10), 78%(615) Black. Cases reported 1331 venues (avg 2, range 1–16 per case). Syphilis and HIV cases reported 940 (avg 2, range 1–16) and 449 venues (avg 2, range 1–7). Overall and by syphilis and HIV cases, 43%(577), 45%(415) and 46%(208) of reports were for the highest frequency venues (n=9); 3 internet venues accounted for 66% of reports. Among the top frequency venues (n=9, reports n=577), there was significant (p<0.001) variability in the report frequency for venues overall (Chi square(CS) 314.7) and by syphilis (CS 225.5) and HIV cases (CS 130). 68% (642) of syphilis cases had an RPR titer and the VTL was significantly variable (CS 2252.9,p<0.001). 35% (159) of HIV cases had an HIV viral load, and there was not significant variability (CS 5.3, p=0.725).
Conclusion Sex partner meeting venues are similar for syphilis and HIV positive MSM suggesting overlapping transmission networks, although the variability of their report differs. Significant differences venue TL suggest targeting specific venues may be important for transmission control and prevention strategies.
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