Relationship between syphilis and HIV infections among men who have sex with men in Beijing, China

Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Aug;34(8):592-7. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000253336.64324.ef.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • China / epidemiology
  • Community Networks
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Syphilis / blood
  • Syphilis / complications
  • Syphilis / epidemiology*
  • Syphilis / prevention & control
  • Urban Health