China has 76.2 million high school and college students, in which the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases is increasing rapidly. Most of these cases are attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. Few studies have explored HIV prevalence and behavioural characteristics of Chinese male students who have sex with men (MSM).
A cross-sectional study of MSM high school and college students in Liaoning Province was conducted. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews and blood specimens were obtained and tested for HIV and syphilis.
There were 436 eligible participants. HIV and syphilis prevalence was 3.0% and 5.0%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, sexual orientation known by family members (OR: 7.3; 95% CI: 1.5-34.6), HIV/AIDS information obtained from clinical doctors (OR: 6.7; 95% CI: 1.7-25.9), HIV/AIDS information obtained through free educational services and materials such as voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) and condom distribution services (OR: 0.2; 95% CI: 0.4-1.0), inconsistent condom use (OR: 5.7; 95%: 1.3-25.3), sexual partner experienced anal bleeding after insertive anal intercourse (OR: 6.8; 95% CI: 1.6-28.4), and history of illegal drug use (OR: 18.9; 95% CI: 2.2-165.3) were found to be significantly associated with HIV infection.
Greater effort should be made towards stemming the HIV and syphilis epidemics among Chinese student MSM. Immediate screening and comprehensive interventions towards student MSM should be implemented in order to curb the spread of HIV. Family and school-based interventions should be considered to target this educated, yet vulnerable, population.