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HIV, syphilis infection, and sexual practices among transgenders, male sex workers, and other men who have sex with men in Jakarta, Indonesia
  1. E Pisani1,
  2. P Girault2,
  3. M Gultom2,
  4. N Sukartini3,
  5. J Kumalawati3,
  6. S Jazan4,
  7. E Donegan5
  1. 1Family Health International, Asia Regional Office, Jakarta, Indonesia
  2. 2Program Aksi Stop AIDS, Jakarta, Indonesia
  3. 3University of Indonesia, Department of Pathology, Jakarta, Indonesia
  4. 4Ministry of Health, Republic of Indonesia. Sub-directorate of AIDS and STDs, Directorate of Communicable Disease Control and Environmental Health, Jakarta, Indonesia
  5. 5Department of Anesthesia, University of California, San Francisco, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Elizabeth Pisani
 Program ASA, Jl Percetakan Negara 29, Jakarta 10560, Indonesia;


Objectives: To establish the prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and sexual risk behaviour among three groups of men who have sex with men in Jakarta, Indonesia, and to investigate sexual links between these men and broader heterosexual populations.

Methods: Anonymous, cross sectional surveys among community recruited transgender and male sex workers and self recognised men who have sex with men (MSM) were undertaken in mid-2002 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Places where transgender and male sex workers sell sex and where men go to meet non-commercial male sex partners were mapped. Probability samples were selected for the sex worker populations, while a mixed probability and convenience sample was drawn for self recognised MSM. Blood was drawn for HIV and syphilis serology and community interviewers administered a standardised questionnaire.

Results: HIV prevalence was 22% among transgender sex workers, 3.6% among male sex workers, and 2.5% among self recognised MSM, and syphilis prevalence was 19.3%, 2.0% and 1.1% respectively. 59.3% of transgender sex workers and 64.8% of male sex workers reported recent unprotected anal intercourse with clients, and 53.1% of other MSM reported unprotected anal sex with male partners. Some 54.4% of male sex workers and 18.3% of other MSM reported female partners in the preceding year.

Conclusion: HIV has reached substantial levels among transgender sex workers, and is not negligible in other MSM groups. Risk behaviour is high in all subpopulations, and bisexual behaviour is common, meaning the threat of a wider epidemic is substantial. Prevention programmes targeting male-male sex are needed to reduce this threat.

  • EIA, enzyme immunoassay
  • MSM, men who have sex with men
  • MSW, male sex workers
  • RPR, rapid plasma reagin
  • MSM
  • HIV
  • Indonesia
  • sexual behaviour

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