AIDS Trends and Risk Behaviors Among Men Who Have Sex With Men
August 4, 2000
A study in a recent issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examines AIDS incidences and risk behaviors among men who report both sexual contact with other men and injection drug use.
This report presents demographic characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) and are injection drug users (IDU) diagnosed with AIDS, trends in AIDS incidence among MSM/IDU diagnosed with AIDS from 1996 to 1998, and information on selected risk behaviors.
Demographic characteristics were obtained from CDC AIDS surveillance in the 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as medical records.
Sexual Risk Behaviors
Researchers interviewed 513 MSM/IDU who were diagnosed with AIDS during 1996-1998. Information on selected risk behaviors of MSM/IDU with AIDS were obtained from the Supplement to HIV/AIDS Surveillance (SHAS) project, a cross-sectional interview study aimed at extending information routinely collected in AIDS surveillance.
The findings show that because MSM/IDU engage in multiple behaviors that put them at higher risk, they are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection and can transmit HIV across multiple populations, including, MSM, IDU, and heterosexual women.
The authors recommend that prevention strategies must provide the information, skills, and support necessary to reduce both sexual and drug-related risk behaviors among MSM/IDU. Programs must also include access to drug treatment and prevention case management.
Additionally, the authors note that behavioral risk information for HIV prevention is important to assure that state and local prevention programs are directed to appropriate populations. If providers do not elicit this information or are reluctant to question patients about their sexual behavior and drug use, information in medical records may under-represent true risks for HIV in the population.
Finally, the authors point out that additional research is needed to determine whether risk reduction strategies that have been effective for groups with single risk also are effective for groups with multiple risk. HIV/AIDS disease surveillance supplemented with behavioral surveys will help in planning prevention, treatment, and other services needed to reduce transmission and to improve survival and quality of life for MSM/IDU living with HIV/AIDS.
For more information:
"HIV/AIDS Among Men Who Have Sex with Men and Inject Drugs-United States, January 1985-December 1998" Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 2, 2000, vol. 49, no. 21, pp. 465-70.
This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.