STIs among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Dodoma Municipality, Tanzania: A Cross-Sectional Study

April 2017 - Epidemiology

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Mmbaga, E.J., Moen, K., Makyao, N., Mpembeni, R., and Leshabari, M.T. Sexually Transmitted Infections (February 2017), pii: sextrans-2016-052770, e-publication ahead of print, doi:10.1136/sextrans-2016-052770.

This cross-sectional study examined the prevalence of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and related risks among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Dodoma Municipality, Tanzania. They used respondent-driven sampling to recruit 409 MSM aged 18 years and over. Participants completed a survey on sociodemographics, knowledge of HIV and STIs, and sexual practices and were tested for HIV and selected STIs. The findings showed an HIV prevalence of 17.4 percent; STIs were also present, particularly herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) (present in 38.5% of participating MSM). Enrollees reported various modes of anal intercourse as their last anal intercourse: receptive (37.5 %), insertive (47.5%), or both insertive and receptive (15%). Overall, 13.9 percent of participants reported using a condom with their last male partner. The likelihood of being HIV-positive was significantly higher for MSM with certain characteristics, including (among numerous others) testing positive for HSV-2, being in a relationship with a woman, engaging in receptive anal intercourse, perceiving themselves to have low HIV risk, engaging in unprotected sex, and taking part in group sex. These findings, the authors said, underscored the urgency of intensifying tailored programs to prevent HIV in MSM, including interventions for behavioral change communication; prevention and management of HSV-2 and other STIs; and HIV care and treatment.

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