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Receptiveness to monkeypox vaccines and public health communication strategies among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in Singapore: cross-sectional quantitative and qualitative insights

Abstract

Objectives Monkeypox (mpox) was declared as a global health emergency by the WHO, with most reported cases disproportionately involving gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM). This study explored the willingness of Singaporean GBMSM to receive mpox vaccines and engage in changes to sexual behaviour, and analysed the factors influencing both decisions.

Methods An online cross-sectional study was disseminated through community groups and Grindr from September to October 2022 among GBMSM in Singapore, where we surveyed respondents’ demographics, stigma associated with mpox, perceived risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and changes to sexual behaviours in response to mpox. Descriptive statistics and multivariable linear and logistics regression analyses, as well as thematic analysis of data, were also conducted.

Results 237 GBMSM community members responded to the survey, with the majority being receptive to vaccine and 67.5% indicating changes to sexual behaviour in view of rising mpox infections. Predictors of vaccine receptivity among GBMSM included self-perceived mpox risk (adjusted OR (aOR)=0.44, 95% CI 0.07, 0.82) and self-perceived STI risk (aOR=0.39, 95% CI 0.03, 0.76). Predictors for changes to sexual behaviour included self-perceived mpox stigma (aOR=1.17, 95% CI 1.08, 1.27), self-perceived mpox risk (aOR=1.22, 95% CI 1.03,1.44), age (aOR=0.96, 95% CI 0.93, 1.00) and race (aOR=0.31, 95% CI 0.10, 0.93). In the thematic analysis, respondents raised concerns about vaccine effectiveness, side effects, cost and privacy.

Conclusions Our findings suggest that the rise in mpox infections have prompted changes to GBMSM’s sexual practices. In general, GBMSM are willing to receive the mpox vaccine but are concerned about the physical and social consequences of uptake. These concerns should be addressed when vaccines are released.

  • Vaccines
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Communicable Diseases
  • HEALTH PROMOTION

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available from the corresponding author (RKJT) upon reasonable request.

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