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      Number of casual male sexual partners and associated factors among men who have sex with men: Results from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system

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          Abstract

          Background

          In 2006, the majority of new HIV infections were in MSM. We sought to describe numbers of casual sex partners among US MSM.

          Methods

          Data are from the first MSM cycle of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system, conducted from 2003 to 2005. Relationships between number of casual male sex partners within the previous year and demographic information, self-reported HIV status, and risk behaviors were determined through regression models.

          Results

          Among 11,191 sexually active MSM, 76% reported a casual male partner. The median casual partner number was three. Lower number of casual partners was associated with black race, Hispanic ethnicity, and having a main sex partner in the previous year. Factors associated with a higher number included gay identity, exchange sex, both injection and non-injection drug use. Being HIV-positive was associated with more partners among non-blacks only. Age differences in partner number were seen only among chat room users.

          Conclusions

          MSM who were black, Hispanic or had a main sex partner reported fewer casual sex partners. Our results suggest specific populations of MSM who may benefit most from interventions to reduce casual partner numbers.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Estimation of HIV incidence in the United States.

          Incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States has not been directly measured. New assays that differentiate recent vs long-standing HIV infections allow improved estimation of HIV incidence. To estimate HIV incidence in the United States. Remnant diagnostic serum specimens from patients 13 years or older and newly diagnosed with HIV during 2006 in 22 states were tested with the BED HIV-1 capture enzyme immunoassay to classify infections as recent or long-standing. Information on HIV cases was reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through June 2007. Incidence of HIV in the 22 states during 2006 was estimated using a statistical approach with adjustment for testing frequency and extrapolated to the United States. Results were corroborated with back-calculation of HIV incidence for 1977-2006 based on HIV diagnoses from 40 states and AIDS incidence from 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimated HIV incidence. An estimated 39,400 persons were diagnosed with HIV in 2006 in the 22 states. Of 6864 diagnostic specimens tested using the BED assay, 2133 (31%) were classified as recent infections. Based on extrapolations from these data, the estimated number of new infections for the United States in 2006 was 56,300 (95% confidence interval [CI], 48,200-64,500); the estimated incidence rate was 22.8 per 100,000 population (95% CI, 19.5-26.1). Forty-five percent of infections were among black individuals and 53% among men who have sex with men. The back-calculation (n = 1.230 million HIV/AIDS cases reported by the end of 2006) yielded an estimate of 55,400 (95% CI, 50,000-60,800) new infections per year for 2003-2006 and indicated that HIV incidence increased in the mid-1990s, then slightly declined after 1999 and has been stable thereafter. This study provides the first direct estimates of HIV incidence in the United States using laboratory technologies previously implemented only in clinic-based settings. New HIV infections in the United States remain concentrated among men who have sex with men and among black individuals.
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            Risk factors for HIV infection among men who have sex with men.

            Risk factors for HIV acquisition were examined in a recent cohort of men who have sex with men (MSM). A longitudinal analysis of 4295 HIV-negative MSM enrolled in a randomized behavioral intervention trial conducted in six US cities. MSM were enrolled and assessed for HIV infection and risk behaviors semi-annually, up to 48 months. In multivariate analysis, men reporting four or more male sex partners, unprotected receptive anal intercourse with any HIV serostatus partners and unprotected insertive anal intercourse with HIV-positive partners were at increased risk of HIV infection, as were those reporting amphetamine or heavy alcohol use and alcohol or drug use before sex. Some depression symptoms and occurrence of gonorrhea also were independently associated with HIV infection. The attributable fractions of high number of male partners, use of alcohol or drugs before sex, and unprotected receptive anal intercourse with unknown status partners and the same with presumed negative partners accounted for 32.3, 29.0, 28.4 and 21.6% of infections, respectively. The challenge is to develop strategies to identify men in need. Interventions are needed to help men reduce their number of sexual partners, occurrences of unprotected anal intercourse, alcohol or drug use before sex and address other mental health issues.
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              Estimating the proportion of HIV transmissions from main sex partners among men who have sex with men in five US cities.

              HIV incidence in the United States among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been increasing since 2000, and MSM remain the most heavily impacted risk group in the US HIV epidemic. We modeled HIV transmissions, using data from MSM in five US cities from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System, the HIVNET Vaccine Preparedness Study, and other published data. Annual HIV transmissions were estimated by partner type (main or casual) and by sex type (receptive anal intercourse, insertive anal intercourse, or oral sex). Sixty-eight percent [95% confidence interval (CI) 58-78) of HIV transmissions were from main sex partners because of a higher number of sex acts with main partners, more frequent receptive roles in anal sex with main partners, and lower condom use during anal sex with main partners. By sex type, 69% (95% CI 59-79) of infections were from receptive anal intercourse, 28% (95% CI 19-38) were from insertive anal intercourse, and 2% (95% CI 0-5) were from oral sex. The model-based estimated HIV incidence rate was 2.2% (95% CI 1.7-2.7) per year. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated estimates of transmission from main sex partners as low as 52% (95% CI 41-62) and as high as 74% (95% CI 68-80). According to our model, most HIV transmissions among MSM in five US cities are from main sex partners. HIV prevention efforts should take into account the risks of HIV transmissions in male partnerships, and couples-based HIV prevention interventions for MSM should be given high priority in the US HIV prevention research portfolio.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                1471-2458
                2011
                25 March 2011
                : 11
                : 189
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Epidemiology, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA
                [2 ]Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
                [3 ]Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA
                [4 ]Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
                Article
                1471-2458-11-189
                10.1186/1471-2458-11-189
                3078881
                21439069
                Copyright ©2011 Rosenberg et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Public health

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