Health survey among men met on MSM cruising spots in Geneva and area

Published: July 21, 2010

N. Charpentier

Groupe Sida Genève, Genève, Switzerland

Background: This survey by Groupe sida Genève aimed at collecting objective information focusing on the health status of men who utilize outdoors cruising spots but stay away from clearly identified gay community locations. Swiss studies on MSM health have indeed seldom addressed these men and their specific situation up to now.
Methods: The survey is based upon a self-administred questionnaire handed to men in cruising spots where Groupe sida Genève´s outreach-based prevention activities take place. Every man met has been sollicited to participate in the survey on a voluntary basis.
Results: Respondents average age is 47 years-old. 7,5% are HIV-positive. 30% define themselves as bisexual, 14,5% as heterosexual and 53% as gay.
24,5% of the respondents feel they have been discriminated once or more in their lives. 70% of these discriminations are linked to their sexual orientation. Only HIV-positive men report discrimination in the context of sexual relations.
90% of respondents have at least once tested for HIV. 47% have heard of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and one single respondent has had a PEP over the last 12 months. Most of the recent HIV tests have been taken in the previous year and a majority of respondents are getting tested on a regular basis (74%).
Conclusions:
1) The survey shows an overrepresentation of bisexual and heterosexual men in comparison with previous Swiss studies on gay/MSM health. Does this mean they men have been overlooked in other surveys?
2) HIV serophobia is a recurring feature in the survey. It may imply an issue over PLWHA visibility and disclosure is at stake in our societies.
3) For HIV testing, respondents mainly utilize private laboratories or private practice physician rather than Voluntary Counselling and Testing facilities. This deserves further investigation, as VCT facilities should be able to better meet their needs.

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