August 9, 2010
The team undertook the current study to describe demographic and behavioral characteristics, together with HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 infections, among men who have sex with men (MSM) identified through a population-based nationally representative survey.
The study data were drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 2001-2006. As part of that research, men ages 18 to 59 were interviewed about sexual behavior using audio computer self-interview. The men also underwent testing for antibodies to HIV and HSV-2.
A total of 4,319 men were interviewed, of which 5.2 percent reported ever having had sex with men. Compared to men who reported female partners only, MSM were more likely to have had first sex before age 15 (31.9 percent vs. 17.3 percent); to have had 10 or more lifetime sex partners (73.6 percent vs. 40.8 percent); and to have ever used cocaine (46.1 percent vs. 26.6 percent) (all P
Among MSM, HIV prevalence was 9.1 percent; HSV-2 prevalence was 18.4 percent. Of MSM, only 44.5 percent self-identified as homosexual or gay. Compared with bisexual and heterosexual MSM, homosexual MSM reported the highest number of lifetime male sex partners and had the highest HIV prevalence (16.5 percent).
"In this population-based sample of men in the United States, self-reported same-sex behavior and homosexual orientation are strong markers for high risk of HIV infection," the authors concluded.