HIV Prevalence and Demographic Determinants of Unprotected Anal Sex and HIV Testing Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Beirut, Lebanon

Published in: Archives of Sexual Behavior, v. 43, no. 4, May 2014, p. 779-788

by Glenn Wagner, Johnny Tohme, Matthew Hoover, Simon Frost, Allison J. Ober, Danielle Khouri, Martin Y. Iguchi, Jacques Mokhbat

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The limited epidemiological data in Lebanon suggest that HIV incident cases are predominantly among men who have sex with men (MSM). We assessed the prevalence of HIV and demographic correlates of condom use and HIV testing among MSM in Beirut. Respondent-driven sampling was used to recruit 213 participants for completion of a behavioral survey and an optional free rapid HIV test. Multivariate regression analysis was used to examine demographic correlates of unprotected anal sex and any history of HIV testing. Nearly half (47%) were under age 25 years and 67% self-identified as gay. Nearly two-thirds (64%) reported any unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with men in the prior 3 months, including 23% who had unprotected anal intercourse with men whose HIV status was positive or unknown (UAIPU) to the participant. Three men (1.5% of 198 participants tested) were HIV-positive; 62% had any history of HIV testing prior to the study and testing was less common among those engaging in UAIPU compared to others (33% vs. 71%). In regression analysis, men in a relationship had higher odds of having UAI but lower odds of UAIPU and any university education was associated with having UAI; those with any prior history of HIV testing were more likely to be in a relationship and have any university education. HIV prevention efforts for MSM need to account for the influence of relationship dynamics and promotion of testing needs to target high-risk MSM.

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