HIV, syphilis and sexual risk behaviours among men who have sex with men in Agadir and Marrakesh, Morocco.

Published: April 25, 2013

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
To collect baseline measurements of HIV and syphilis prevalence and sexual risk behaviours among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Agadir and Marrakech, Morocco, and provide strategic information to improve outreach programmes.

METHODS AND DESIGN:
Respondent-driven sampling was used to recruit men who reported having anal sex with another man in the last 6 months, aged 18 years and older and living in either Agadir or Marrakech for the past 6 months, regardless of nationality. Data were analysed with the multiplicity estimator using respondent-driven sampling analysis tool V.6.0.
RESULTS:

323 MSM in Agadir and 346 in Marrakech were recruited into the survey. Most MSM in both cities reported being < 25 years, being unemployed, bisexual and in a couple with both a man and a woman. Most reported selling sex and having sex with women. HIV prevalence was 5.6% in Agadir and 2.8% in Marrakesh; syphilis was 7.0% in Agadir and 10.8% in Marrakesh. Among MSM who tested positive for HIV, 31.6% in Agadir and 56.4% in Marrakesh were co-infected with syphilis.

CONCLUSIONS:
HIV and syphilis findings coupled with high risk activities indicate the need for expanding programmes targeting MSM throughout Morocco. Selling sex and sex with women may be a strategy to cope with extreme stigma towards MSM. Criminalisation and discrimination of MSM in Morocco underscores the urgent need for long-term and sustainable risk reduction through legal reforms and promotion and protection of human rights.

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