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High HIV incidence among men who have sex with men attending a community-based voluntary counselling and testing service in Barcelona, Spain: results from the ITACA cohort


Objectives To identify the HIV incidence and its associated factors (AFs) of the ITACA, a community-based cohort of HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) established in Barcelona, Spain from 2008 to 2011.

Methods Participants were men aged 18 years or older, having a negative HIV test result at baseline and agreeing to participate. Bio-behavioural data were collected by peers in each visit. HIV incidence rates using person-time measures and 95% CIs were calculated. Cox logistic regression models were used to identify AFs to seroconversion.

Results Over the period, 3544 participants with at least one follow-up visit or those who had a first visit no longer than a year prior to the date of data censoring were included in the analysis contributing 3567.09 person-year (p-y) and 85 MSM seroconverted for an overall HIV incidence of 2.4 per 100 p-y (95% CI 1.9 to 2.9) ranging from 1.21/100 (2009) to 3.1/100 p-y (2011). Independent AF included: foreign origin, having more than five HIV tests at baseline, reporting in the preceding 6 months the following: condomless anal sex with the last steady partner of unknown serostatus, more than 10 casual partners, condomless anal sex with casual partner, self-reported gonorrhoea and entered in the cohort in 2010 or 2011.

Conclusions The ITACA cohort revealed a high and increasing HIV incidence among MSM, especially important among foreign-born men. The findings underscore the need to implement multilevel interventions for MSM taking into account different types of partners, cultural origins and the exposure to other sexually transmitted infections.

  • HIV

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