Self-reported HIV prevalence, HIV testing history and risk behavior among MSM in 17 countries in Southeast and East Asia: comparing results from two large scale, multi-language online surveys in 2009 and 2010
Fridae.com, Singapore, Singapore
Background: Epidemics of HIV infection have been identified in Southeast and East-Asia. Here we present results of a cross-sectional risk behavior survey amongst MSM from 17 countries in this region.
Methods: In 2009, an English language survey was conducted through websites of 20 community partners. 5,773 MSM completed the questionnaire about demographics, HIV testing and risk behavior. Descriptive analysis summarized the data and compared between countries. In 2010, a similar survey was administered simultaneously in English, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Tagalog, Malay, Indonesian and Vietnamese through a network of 50 community partners. The study was begun on 1 January and will conclude on 28 February 2010. As of 9 February, more than 8,600 valid responses have been collected, exceeding that of the 2009 study. New sections on age of sexual debut and sex work were added in 2010.
Results: In the 2009 study, the mean age of respondents was 33 years (range, 15-74), 67.2% reported university education or higher. Of participants, 1,994 (highest) enrolled from Singapore, and 77 (lowest) from Vietnam. Self-reported HIV-prevalence ranged from 8.4% in Thailand to 1.5% in South Korea. In the past 12 months, a history of HIV testing was reported by 63.5% (highest) in South Korea and by 19.4% (lowest) in Philippines; unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners (UAIC) was reported by 68.9% in Philippines and by 32.6% in Vietnam; drug use during sex by 21.6% in Taiwan and by 3.3% in South Korea. A comparison will be made between the 2009 and 2010 studies to see if there are any trends or differences between the study groups.
Conclusions: In 2009, self-reported HIV prevalence, recent UAIC and drug use during sex were high. Uptake of HIV testing was low. There were marked differences between countries. Interventions addressing these factors are urgently needed. 2010 results are pending.