Objective: To examine HIV prevalence and sexual behavior changes among MSM in Harbin.
Methods: Three community-based cross-sectional surveys among MSM were conducted based on the same protocol and methodology in 2002, 2004 and 2006 in Harbin, China. Men who were eligible were interviewed with a standard questionnaire. Urine samples were collected to screen their HIV status.
Results: Among the MSM in Harbin, an increased trend was observed towards more self-identifying as homosexual (from 58% to 80%) and more living with a male partner (from 12% to 41%) over the study period. Although there was a trend towards a reduction in the rate of never using a condom and an increase in the rate of always using condoms during anal sex in the past six months, the prevalence of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) was still at a high level (from 90% in 2002 to 72% in 2006). The HIV prevalence in 2006 (2.2%, 15/674) was higher than that in other study years, but no statistically significant change was detected.
Conclusions: Although an increase in condom use and a decline in drug use, STD infection and commercial sex have been monitored under current HIV prevention strategies, the MSM in Harbin is still highly vulnerable to HIV transmission given a high level of UAI and an increasing number of male sexual partners over the study period.