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Meta-analysis: prevalence of HIV infection and syphilis among MSM in China


Objectives: The prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases is rapidly rising among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China. The aim is to systematically review the published studies and summarise the estimates of HIV prevalence among MSM in China.

Methods: Published articles, both in English and in Chinese, on HIV prevalence among MSM in China until 15 September 2008 were systematically reviewed. Meta-analysis was used to quantitatively summarise the estimates, and the prevalence of syphilis presented in the included studies was also analysed.

Results: Twenty-six eligible studies, published during 2001–2008, were included in this review. Their results were frequently heterogeneous. The meta-analyses showed that MSM form a high-risk population for HIV infection in China with a summary prevalence of 2.5% (95% CI 0.9% to 3.3%). A much higher prevalence of syphilis (9.1%) may indicate a potential of more severe HIV epidemic in the future because of their common high-risk behaviours.

Conclusions: MSM are a high-risk population for HIV infection in China. An effective strategy for prevention and control is required for this specific population. Differences between sampling methods, sample sizes and study locations may explain some of the inconsistencies found in the included studies.

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