Self-reported HIV prevalence high among MSM in Mexico City

Published: August 1, 2008

Self-reported HIV prevalence high among MSM in Mexico City

Background: In Mexico, as in many Latin American countries, the HIV epidemic has been largely concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM). While considerable prevention activities have been implemented specifically targeting this subpopulation in Mexico, insufficient data are available on their sociodemographic characterictics, data which could enable design of more effective interventions. This study mapped MSM meeting sites in Mexico City and surveyed the MSM who frequent them.

Methods: Using key informants, available documents, site visits and phone calls, a comprehensive list of formal and informal meeting points of MSM in Mexico City was generated and mapped. A sample of 30 sites (with probability of selection proportional to size) was drawn from that universe. A demographic, socioeconomic and behavioral questionnaire was administered to 2,900 MSM using handheld devices.

Results: A total of 133 sites were identified in Mexico city; approximately 50% were informal spaces, with public washrooms the most frequent. The majority (65%) of sites were located in the central area of the city. The population frequenting these sites was estimated at between 6 and 14 thousand people. 2,900 MSM completed the questionnaire. The average age was 26. 60% reported having ever had an HIV test; of those, 30% reported being HIV positive. Self-reported socioeconomic status was higher on average than in the general population.

Discussion: MSM sampled in public meeting sites tend to be younger, less poor and more often employed than the general population. The mapping results suggest a population highly concentrated in some areas of the city, with very high self-reported prevalence of HIV, several orders of magnitude higher then in the general population. Prevention activities should ensure saturation coverage of MSM in Mexico City with multiple, mutually reinforcing interventions, with an increasing focus on prevention for positives activities.

-Abstract available at link below-

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