Disparities and risks of sexually transmissible infections among men who have sex with men in China: a meta-analysis and data synthesis

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 24;9(2):e89959. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089959. eCollection 2014.


Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Hepatitis B and C virus, are emerging public health risks in China, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study aims to assess the magnitude and risks of STIs among Chinese MSM.

Methods: Chinese and English peer-reviewed articles were searched in five electronic databases from January 2000 to February 2013. Pooled prevalence estimates for each STI infection were calculated using meta-analysis. Infection risks of STIs in MSM, HIV-positive MSM and male sex workers (MSW) were obtained. This review followed the PRISMA guidelines and was registered in PROSPERO.

Results: Eighty-eight articles (11 in English and 77 in Chinese) investigating 35,203 MSM in 28 provinces were included in this review. The prevalence levels of STIs among MSM were 6.3% (95% CI: 3.5-11.0%) for chlamydia, 1.5% (0.7-2.9%) for genital wart, 1.9% (1.3-2.7%) for gonorrhoea, 8.9% (7.8-10.2%) for hepatitis B (HBV), 1.2% (1.0-1.6%) for hepatitis C (HCV), 66.3% (57.4-74.1%) for human papillomavirus (HPV), 10.6% (6.2-17.6%) for herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) and 4.3% (3.2-5.8%) for Ureaplasma urealyticum. HIV-positive MSM have consistently higher odds of all these infections than the broader MSM population. As a subgroup of MSM, MSW were 2.5 (1.4-4.7), 5.7 (2.7-12.3), and 2.2 (1.4-3.7) times more likely to be infected with chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HCV than the broader MSM population, respectively.

Conclusion: Prevalence levels of STIs among MSW were significantly higher than the broader MSM population. Co-infection of HIV and STIs were prevalent among Chinese MSM. Integration of HIV and STIs healthcare and surveillance systems is essential in providing effective HIV/STIs preventive measures and treatments.

Trial registration: PROSPERO NO: CRD42013003721.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • China / epidemiology
  • Coinfection / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / microbiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / virology