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P4.22 Crossing the bridge: exploring sexual risk profiles of men who have sex with men attending a sex on premises venue and a public sexual health clinic for sti screening in sydney, australia
  1. Catriona Ooi,
  2. David Lewis
  1. Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Parramatta, Australia

Abstract

Introduction In Australia, men who have sex with men (MSM) are targeted to curb the spread of HIV and STIs. ‘Non-gay’ identifying MSM (NGMSM) may not identify with health messages, impacting knowledge of HIV/STI harm minimisation and result in poorer health-seeking behaviours. NGMSM and other men who have sex with men and women are often hidden to clinical services. These men may act as bridges for HIV/STI transmission to female partners. Novel strategies to reach this group include opportunistic HIV/STI screening at sex on premises venues (SOPV). We compared the demographics, testing and sexual behaviour of MSM attending a SOPV to MSM attending an established sexual health clinic (SHC).

Method A daytime SOPV HIV/STI screening service was conducted 2–3 consecutive days per month from November 2015 for 12 months. All patrons were offered testing. The comparison group were MSM attending a local SHC for screening the week following each SOPV clinic. The SHC operates weekdays with appointment and walk-in options. At both sites, participants consented to provide demographic information, contact details and a brief sexual history. Demographics, sexual behaviour and testing practices were compared between the 2 groups.

Results During the study period 84 men tested at the SOPV and 108 at the SHC. SOPV testers were older (mean age, 48.4 years. vs 34.6 years.; p<0.001) and were more likely to have had sex with a female in the past 12 months (49/84, 58% vs. 19/105, 18%; p<0.001). Compared with SHC testers, more SOPV testers had never had an HIV test (23/84, 27% vs. 12/108, 11%; p<0.01). In the previous 3 months, 100% condom use with regular partners was similar in both groups (SOPV 33/84, 39% vs. SHC 37/105, 35%; p=0.67).

Conclusion Inconsistent condom use with casual and regular sex partners, combined with higher reported rates of sex with females, may enable SOPV testers to act as bridges for STI/HIV transmission between MSM and heterosexual populations. Our findings have implications for HIV/STI service provision, contact tracing and local health promotion initiatives.

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