Sexual practices and knowledge of HIV/STI transmission among men who have sex with men

Published: August 1, 2008

Sexual practices and knowledge of HIV/STI transmission among men who have sex with men

Background: The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Cambodian general population has declined in recent years, but health workers warn that there is little room for complacency. According to a survey by the Cambodian National Centre for HIV/AIDS Dermatology and STDs, the HIV prevalence rate among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Phnom Penh is 8.7% with the potential for the sexual networking behavior of MSM with men and women to further spread HIV. In conservative Cambodia, this includes at-risk men who state they are not gay, but “just like having sex with men.” Prior to work with a local MSM, a study was implemented by Pact Cambodia to measure the knowledge of HIV/STI transmission among self-identified MSM, and describe MSM sexual practices. 

Methods: The research was a cross-sectional among MSM group. The respondent sample was selected randomly from 191 out of 563 self-identified MSM located in four provinces in Cambodia. A survey tool, designed in collaboration with sub-grantees working with MSM, was used to gather data throughout October, 2007. 

Results: Close to half of the MSM respondents (45%) were between 20 and 24 years of age; with 47.9% still in secondary school. 46.3% of them had sex with a sweetheart and 45.33% had sex with casual male partners. Interestingly, 21.10% had sex with female sex workers and female casual partners. However, only 36.6% stated they understood HIV and STI transmission and 21.2% reported never using a condom when having sex with a sweetheart; 46.9% reported using a condom correctly when they chose to use one. 

Conclusions: The result of this study is important for program intervention. It has identified key issues in the Cambodian context which must be addressed and emphasized the importance of additional research on hidden MSM. 

-Abstract can be found at link below-

 

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