Sex Role Segregation and Mixing among Men Who Have Sex with Men: Implications for Biomedical HIV Prevention Interventions.

Published: August 1, 2013


Men who have sex with men (MSM) practice role segregation – insertive or receptive only sex positions instead of a versatile role – in several international settings where candidate biomedical HIV prevention interventions (e.g., circumcision, anal microbicide) will be tested. The effects of these position-specific interventions on HIV incidence are modeled.
We developed a deterministic compartmental model to predict HIV incidence among Indian MSM using data from 2003-2010. The model’s sex mixing matrix was derived from network data of Indian MSM (n?=?4604). Our model captures changing distribution of sex roles over time. We modeled microbicide and circumcision efficacy on trials with heterosexuals.
Increasing numbers of versatile MSM resulted in little change in HIV incidence over 20 years. Anal microbicides and circumcision would decrease the HIV prevalence at 10 years from 15.6% to 12.9% and 12.7% respectively. Anal microbicides would provide similar protection to circumcision at the population level despite lower modeled efficacy (54% and 60% risk reduction, respectively). Combination of the interventions were additive: in 5 years, the reduction in HIV prevalence of the combination (-3.2%) is almost the sum of their individual reductions in HIV prevalence (-1.8% and -1.7%).
MSM sex role segregation and mixing, unlike changes in the sex role distribution, may be important for evaluating HIV prevention interventions in international settings. Synergies between some position-specific prevention interventions such as circumcision and anal microbicides warrant further study.
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