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High levels of undiagnosed rectal STIs suggest that screening remains inadequate among Black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men

Abstract

Objective To better understand rectal STI screening practices for Black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (BGBMSM).

Findings Although 15% of BGBMSM lab tested positive for a rectal STI, the majority of these (94%) were asymptomatic. Though all participants reported their status as HIV negative/unknown, 31 of 331 (9.4%) tested positive on HIV rapid tests. Neither condomless anal intercourse nor the number of male sex partners was associated with rectal STI or HIV diagnosis, although rectal STI diagnosis was positively related to testing HIV positive.

Conclusions Findings suggest that substantial numbers of BGBMSM have asymptomatic STIs but are not tested—an outcome that is likely a strong driver of onward HIV acquisition. Therefore, we must address the asymptomatic STI epidemic among GBMSM in order to reduce HIV transmission, as well as temper STI transmission, among this key population.

  • HIV
  • sexual health
  • screening

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