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      Potential HIV transmission risk among spouses: marriage intention and expected extramarital male-to-male sex among single men who have sex with men in Hunan, China

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          The HIV epidemic in China is shifting from the high-risk groups of men who have sex with men (MSM), injection drug users and sex workers to the general population, and sexual contact among spouses is assumed to be one route of transmission. Our objective was to determine the intention to marry and the expected extramarital male-to-male sex among single Chinese MSM, in order to estimate the potential HIV transmission risk among MSM living with HIV and their female spouses.


          We conducted a web-based, cross-sectional survey between May 2016 and May 2017. A questionnaire covering sociodemographic characteristics, sexual behaviours, HIV-related and homosexuality-related stigma, marriage intention, and expected extramarital sexual behaviours was completed by 556 single MSM in Hunan, China. Descriptive statistics, χ 2 test, two-sample t-test and multivariate logistic regression analysis were performed.


          Currently 48.9% of the participants intended to marry a woman in their lifetime, and 91% of them reported that they would continue to have sex with men after getting married. Those who were living with parents (OR=2.26), self-identified as bisexual (OR=2.57), had at least one heterosexual partner in the previous 6 months (OR=0.33) and perceived a higher level of self-homosexual stigma (OR=1.78) had greater intention to marry a woman.


          Nearly half of Chinese MSM intend to marry women, which has significantly dropped from the estimated percentage more than 10 years ago for Chinese MSM. However, the expectation of extramarital homosexual behaviours was common in these men. Sexual and gender minority stresses especially from family members, homosexual identity assertiveness and related stigma were the main factors for marriage intention, which should be addressed in future studies and practices.

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          Most cited references 21

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          HIV prevalence in China: integration of surveillance data and a systematic review.

          Asian HIV epidemics are concentrated among particular behavioural groups, but large variations exist in epidemic types, timing, and geographical spread between countries and within countries, especially in China. We aimed to understand the complexity of HIV epidemics in China by systematically analysing prevalence trends by data source, region, population group, and time period. We collected HIV prevalence data from official national sentinel surveillance sites at the provincial level from Jan 1, 1995, to Dec 31, 2010. We also searched PubMed, VIP Chinese Journal Database (VIP), China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Wanfang Data from Jan 1, 1990, to Dec 31, 2012, for independent studies of HIV prevalence. We integrated both sets of data, and used an intraclass correlation coefficient test to assess the similarity of geographical pattern of HIV disease burden across 31 Chinese provinces in 2010. We investigated prevalence trends (and 95% CIs) to infer corresponding incidence by region, population group, and year. Of 6850 articles identified by the search strategy, 821 studies (384,583 drug users, 52,356 injecting drug users, 186,288 female sex workers, and 87,834 men who have sex with men) met the inclusion criteria. Official surveillance data and findings from independent studies showed a very similar geographical distribution and magnitude of HIV epidemics across China. We noted that HIV epidemics among injecting drug users are decreasing in all regions outside southwest China and have stabilised at a high level in northwest China. Compared with injecting drug users, HIV prevalence in female sex workers is much lower and has stabilised at low levels in all regions except in the southwest. In 2010, national HIV prevalence was 9·08% (95% CI 8·04-10·52) in injecting drug users and 0·36% (0·12-0·71) in female sex workers, whereas incidence in both populations stabilised at rates of 0·57 (0·43-0·72) and 0·02 (0·01-0·04) per 100 person-years, respectively. By comparison, HIV prevalence in men who have sex with men increased from 1·77% (1·26-2·57) in 2000, to 5·98% (4·43-8·18) in 2010, with a national incidence of 0·98 (0·70-1·25) per 100 person-years in 2010. We recorded strong associations between HIV prevalence among at-risk populations in each province, supporting the existence of overlap in risk behaviours and mixing among these populations. HIV epidemics in China remain concentrated in injecting drug users, female sex workers, and men who have sex with men. HIV prevalence is especially high in southwest China. Sex between men has clearly become the main route of HIV transmission. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Charting a Moral Life: The Influence of Stigma and Filial Duties on Marital Decisions among Chinese Men who Have Sex with Men

            Introduction Stigma constitutes a critical challenge to the rising rates of HIV among Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM). It reduces willingness to disclose one’s sexual orientation and can lead to concurrent sexual partnerships. Disclosure decisions are also affected by cultural norms that place pressures on sons to marry. In this manuscript, we characterize how stigma and cultural factors influenced Chinese MSM’s decisions around disclosure and marriage. We seek to show that MSM’s actions were motivated by moral considerations, even when those choices posed HIV transmission risks. Methods We conducted qualitative interviews with 30 MSM in Beijing, China. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and translated into English for analysis. Transcripts were coded using a procedure that allowed for themes to emerge organically. Results Participants struggled with feelings of shame and believed that others possessed stigmatizing attitudes about homosexuality. They had experienced relatively little discrimination because they infrequently disclosed their MSM status. In response to marital pressures, participant had to reconcile same-sex attractions with filial expectations. Their choices included: not being involved with women; putting on the appearance of a heterosexual relationship by marrying a lesbian; or fulfilling family expectations by marrying a heterosexual woman. Regardless of the decision, many rooted the justifications for their choices in the considerations they had given to others’ needs. Conclusion The growing epidemic among MSM in China requires action from the public health community. As programs are scaled up to serve these men, it is critical to remember that MSM, who often fear social sanction if they were to reveal their sexual orientation, continue to face the same pressures from culturally normative social duties as heterosexual men. Interventions must find ways to help men navigate a balance between their own needs and the responsibilities they feel toward their parents and others.
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              Internalized homophobia and reduced HIV testing among men who have sex with men in China.

              Although previous research has examined barriers and facilitators of HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China, few studies have focused on social factors, including homophobia and internalized homophobia. This study utilized data from a global online survey to determine correlates of HIV testing as part of a subanalysis focused on Chinese MSM. Controlling for age, HIV knowledge, number of sexual partners, and other covariates, ever having tested for HIV was significantly correlated with lower internalized homophobia. This study suggests that stigma associated with sexual orientation may serve as a barrier to participation in HIV testing and other health-promoting behaviors.

                Author and article information

                Sex Transm Infect
                Sex Transm Infect
                Sexually Transmitted Infections
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                March 2020
                6 June 2019
                : 96
                : 2
                : 151-156
                [1 ] departmentXiangya School of Nursing , Central South University , Changsha City, Hunan Province, China
                [2 ] departmentNursing Faculty , Henan Medical College , Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China
                [3 ] departmentRory Meyers College of Nursing , New York University , New York City, New York, USA
                [4 ] Changde Centre for Disease Control and Prevention , Changde, Hunan Province, China
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Xianhong Li, Xiangya School of Nursing, Central South University, Changsha City, Hunan Province, China; xianhong_li@ 123456csu.edu.cn
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                Funded by: National Social Science Fund;
                Award ID: 15CSH037
                Funded by: Graduate Investigation Project of Central South University;
                Award ID: 502231803
                Funded by: Innovation-driven Project of Central South University;
                Award ID: 2018CX036
                Original research
                Custom metadata

                Sexual medicine

                marriage, extramarital relations, sexual and gender minority, spouses, hiv infection, china


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