Objective: To determine the prevalence of HIV infection and risk behaviors among young men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 15-22 years in New York City.
Design: An anonymous cross-sectional survey.
Methods: The 1998 Young Men's Survey in New York City (YMS-NYC), was a multistage probability survey of 541 MSM aged 15-22 years who attend public venues. After identification of venues and their associated high attendance time periods, random samples of venues and time periods were selected on a monthly basis. At each sampling event, potential participants were approached to determine eligibility. Eligible and willing men were interviewed, counselled and had a blood specimen drawn.
Results: Between December 1997 and September 1998, 115 sampling events were conducted. Of 612 men enrolled, 541 reported ever having had sex with a male partner. The HIV seroprevalence among the 541 MSM sampled was 12.1%. The HIV seroprevalence was 18.4% among African-Americans, 16.7% among persons of mixed race, 8.8% among Latino individuals and 3.1% among white men. HIV seroprevalence was 5.0% among 15-18 year olds and 16.4% among 19-22 year olds. A total of 65.5% of MSM were susceptible to hepatitis B virus infection (HBV). Almost half (46.1%) of the men reported unprotected anal sex in the previous 6 months and 16.3% reported ever having had an STD. Multiple regression analyses found that being older, of mixed race, black or ever having had an STD was associated with being HIV antibody positive.
Conclusion: These data identify a large subgroup of MSM in need of effective HIV and HBV primary and secondary prevention programs.