International AIDS Society

One in 10 Young MSM in 21 US Cities Tested Positive for HIV in 2008

Author: Mark Mascolini

23 January 2013

HIV prevalence stood at 10% among young men who have sex with men (MSM) tested in 21 US cities in 2008. The new infection rate (incidence) was highest in blacks.

Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that young MSM account for a growing proportion of new HIV infections in the United States. The 2008 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS), a cross-sectional survey conducted in 21 US cities, aimed to calculate HIV rates and risk factors among 18- to 24-year-old MSM.

The study involved 1889 young MSM who had at least one male sex partner in the past year. Of the 198 men (10%) who tested positive for HIV, 136 (69%) reported no previous HIV test, even though the CDC recommends annual HIV screening for MSM.

Annual HIV incidence density (the number of HIV infections per total person-years at risk) stood at 2.9% and was highest in young black MSM.

Among men who did not report being HIV infected when they entered the study, several factors were associated with testing positive for HIV:

• Black race
• Less than high school education
• Using both alcohol and drugs before or during last sex
• Having an HIV test more than 12 months ago
• Reporting a visit to a medical provider in the past year

“Individual risk behaviors did not fully explain HIV risk,” the authors note, a result “emphasizing the need to address sociodemographic and structural-level factors in public health interventions targeted toward young MSM.”

Source: Alexandra B. Balaji, Kristina E. Bowles, Binh C. Le, Gabriela Paz-Bailey, Alexandra M. Oster, for the NHBS Study Group. High HIV incidence and prevalence and associated factors among young MSM, 2008. AIDS. 2013; 27: 269-278.

For the study abstract

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