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Monitoring for HIV-1 infection and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in a cohort of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Buenos Aires, Argentina

M M Avila1, R Marone2, M A Pando Pateiro1, M Segura1, R Duranti2, J L Sanchez3, M C Weissenbacher1
1Centro Nacional de Referencia para el SIDA, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 2NEXO ONG, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 3Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Henry M. Jackson , Rockville, Maryland, United States

Introduction: In Argentina, MSM represented at least 20% of the total number of notified AIDS cases in 2002. Recent baseline studies performed in our laboratory together with a non-governmental organization estimated an HIV prevalence of 13.8% and an annual incidence rate of 6.0% in Buenos Aires.
Objectives: To recruit and retain a cohort of MSM and to determine the annual incidence and risk factors associated with HIV-1 and T. pallidum infections. To analyze the behavioral factors related to retention of volunteers and evaluate the possibility of including this population in future vaccine trials.
Methods: Men between the ages of 18 to 60 years, and who reported having had sexual relations with other men in the past 6 months, were screened for HIV-1 and syphilis. Those who were found to be HIV-negative, did not report injecting drug use, accepted to provide appropriate written informed consent, and who agreed to be informed of their HIV serology and follow-up counseling, were included. Initial entry and 6 month blood samples were collected for screening for HIV-1, HBV, HCV and VDRL reactivity. Sociodemographic and epidemiologic data were also obtained every 6 months.
Results: A total of 897 MSM were studied from February to December 2003. Past infection with HIV-1 was detected in 77 (8.6%), HBV in 202 (22.5%), HCV in 4 (0.4%), and VDRL reactivity in 62 (6.9%). All subjects found to be HBV-negative were offered HBV vaccination. Out of the 820 HIV-1 negative at baseline, 333 were selected to participate in the follow-up study, after a physical and psychological evaluation. Up until mid-January 2004, 194 volunteers have returned for the 6-month visit (92.0 % retention rate at 6 month) and 6 have been shown to seroconvert showing an Incidence Density of 6.2% person/year (95% CI 2.5-13.5).
Conclusions: A cohort of 333 MSM was recruited in Buenos Aires. The initial estimates of HIV-1 incidence reveal that this may be a convenient group in which to deploy intervention studies, such as HIV vaccines, in the future.

The XV International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. WePpC2069

Suggested Citation
" M M Avila , , et al. Monitoring for HIV-1 infection and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in a cohort of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Poster presentation: The XV International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. WePpC2069"