Background: Little is known about risk of HIV and other STDs among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China.
Objective: To survey the prevalence and risk factors of HIV and syphilis and evaluate correlation of two infections among MSM in the Chinese capital city.
Methods: A community-based sample of 526 MSM was recruited in 2005 through Internet advertising, community outreach, and peer referring. Interviewer-administered interviews were conducted to collect information on demographics and sexual and other risk behaviors, and blood samples were collected to test for syphilis and HIV infections.
Results: Seventeen (3.2%) participants were HIV seropositive and 59 (11.2%) syphilis seropositive. Sixty-four percent of participants were migrants who did not have Beijing residence. Forty percent had >10 lifetime male sex partners and 28.8% reported having ever had sex with women. Consistent condom use with primary male sex partners ranged from 21% to 24%, with nonprimary male sex partners from 35% to 42%, and with female partners around 33%. Illicit drug use was not common; only 2.5% reported using Ecstasy or ketamine in the past 6 months. Multivariate logistic regression analyses demonstrated that >10 lifetime male sex partners were independently associated with seropositivity of both syphilis (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.4) and HIV (OR, 4.3; 95% CI, 1.4-13.6). In addition, HIV infection is significantly associated with syphilis seropositivity (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.3-10.8).
Conclusions: High mobility, multiple sexual partners, and high prevalence of unprotected sex behaviors and syphilis infection suggest a potential rapid spread of HIV in Chinese MSM.