International AIDS Society


Risk behaviours for HIV among men who have sex with men in Trinidad and Tobago

R.K. Lee1, C. Poon King2, G. Legall3, C. Trotman1, S. Samiel1, C. O'Neil1

Background: The HIV AIDS epidemic in Trinidad and Tobago (population 1.3 million) underwent a demographic shift from homosexual/ bisexual men to heterosexual in the mid 1980s. This study sought to characterise riks behaviours and HIV status among men who have sex with men in the twin island-republic.

Methods: 320 men were recruited using a modified snowball methodology. A self-applied anonymous questionnaire was administered by trained volunteer facilitators. 235 saliva samples were collected and tested for HIV

Results: The HIV prevalence rate was 20% among MSM; the majority of HIV positive respondents are over 30 years of age. Younger men (< 30 years) report behaviours that reduce HIV exposure (reduction in sexual partners, condom use, HIV testing, low reported drug use). Bisexual respondents report lower knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention and more negative attitudes towards PLWHA. HIV AIDS awareness and familiarity with prevention methods is high in this population. Condom use ranged from 50% to 82%. Use of condoms varied with type of partner and sub-group reporting.

Conclusions: Bisexual Behaviour: 62% report lifetime and 25% report current (within 12 months) female partners.
High HIV Transmission: The high rates of reported unprotected sex points to continued high transmission of HIV among this population and to their partners, especially their female partners. Given the high proportion (25%) of respondents who report current sex with women, continued transmission to the general population is expected.
The stigma and discrimination against male homosexuality and the incomplete understanding of homosexual and bisexual behaviour will continue to cause misreporting of HIV transmission. The continued lack of interventions that specifically target MSM will continue to undermine national prevention efforts.

AIDS 2006 - XVI International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. CDD0366

Suggested Citation
"R.K.Lee, et al. Risk behaviours for HIV among men who have sex with men in Trinidad and Tobago. : AIDS 2006 - XVI International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. CDD0366"