A spatiotemporal meta-analysis of HIV/syphilis epidemic among men who have sex with men living in mainland China

BMC Infect Dis. 2018 Dec 12;18(1):652. doi: 10.1186/s12879-018-3532-8.


Background: Geographic differences in HIV, syphilis and condomless sex among men who have sex with men in China remained unknown. We aimed to elucidate these spatiotemporal changing patterns in China.

Methods: We conducted a spatiotemporal meta-analysis. We searched four databases for studies conducted between 2001 and 2015. We included studies that reported original data of HIV/syphilis prevalence in China, the study's area/province, and period of data collection. We grouped studies into six regions and four time periods. We examined the changing patterns of national and regional prevalence of HIV, syphilis and condomless sex.

Results: Search results yielded 2119 papers, and 272 were included in the meta-analysis. The sample sizes of the studies ranged from 19 to 47,231. National HIV prevalence increased from 3.8% (95% CI 3.0-4.8) in 2001-07 to 6.6% (5.6-7.7) in 2013-15. In most regions, the rise occurred before 2010 and the HIV prevalence remained relatively stable afterwards, except for the Northwest which showed a considerable increase since 2008. National syphilis prevalence decreased from 12.3% (10.2-14.9) in 2001-07 to 7.1% (5.6-8.9) in 2013-15.

Conclusions: The trends of HIV and syphilis infections have been effectively curbed in MSM in most regions of China. Continuous efforts, particularly promotion of condom use, are needed to further reduce these infections.

Keywords: HIV; Infection; Men who have sex with men (MSM); Spatiotemporal meta-analysis; Syphilis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Epidemics
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis
  • Syphilis / complications
  • Syphilis / epidemiology*
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult