Commercial lubricant use for anal sex among men who have sex with men in Lima, Peru
Background: HIV transmission in Peru primarily occurs via anal intercourse among men who have sex with men (MSM). Successful introduction of Rectal Microbicides – substances which someday may be added to sexual lubricants to prevent HIV infection – will depend on knowledge of local lubricant use practices among potential users such as MSM.
Methods: A convenience sample of 549 MSM was recruited from an inner-city STI clinic in Lima, Peru. Participants completed a computer-assisted self-interview to answer questions about lubricant use during anal intercourse.
Results: Participant ages ranged from 18-70 years (median age 28). Most participants (78.1%) were high school educated and 14.7% were unemployed. 276 (50.3%) reported using a commercial lubricant sometimes or always during anal sex in the previous two months. Lube users most often obtained lubricant from a pharmacy (72.9%) or clinic (10.8%). Among men who sometimes used lubricant for anal sex (181/549; 33.0%), the most common reasons given for nonuse were: uses saliva (23.2%); uses lubricated condoms (24.9%); and unavailability of lubricant during intercourse (48.1%) (participants could provide multiple responses). Among participants who never used commercial lubricants (273/549), the most common reasons given were: prefers dry sex (9.2%%); uses saliva (3.7%); uses lubricated condoms (20.5%); or no lube available during intercourse (11.0%). Nonuse due to a lack of money was reported by 1.8% of men who never used lubricant and 14.4% of intermittent users.
Conclusions: While most Peruvian MSM in this sample always or sometimes used lubricant for anal intercourse, many (almost 50%) did not. Reasons for nonuse were related to preference, access, availability and cost. Rectal Microbicides formulated as sexual lubricants, if accessible and affordable, would likely face few barriers to use among many Peruvian MSM. However, more research is needed to understand the barriers to sexual lubricant use among nonusers to optimize future Rectal Microbicide uptake in this population.
-Abstract available at link below-