Sexual risk behaviors of men who have sex with men internet-user in Viet Nam

Published: July 21, 2010

Sexual risk behaviors of men who have sex with men internet-user in Viet Nam

Q. Nguyen1, V. Schoenbach1, T. Bennett2, W. Kalsbeek3, W. Miller1, P. Huynh4, B. Le4, T. Le4

1UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Epidemiology, Chapel Hill, United States, 2UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Maternal and Child Health, Chapel Hill, United States, 3UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Biostatistics, Chapel Hill, United States, 4Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Background: HIV prevalence among Vietnamese men who have sex with men (MSM) is 9% in Ha Noi and 5% in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. There are no national data about MSM who are among the estimated 21 million Internet users in Viet Nam. This study examined sexual risk behaviors and factors associated with unprotected anal sex among MSM Internet users in Viet Nam.

Methods: From November 2008 to February 2009, MSM visiting the five most popular Vietnamese gay web forums were invited to complete an online questionnaire covering socio-demographic characteristics and sexual behaviors. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to examine factors associated with unprotected anal sex among respondents.

Results: There were 1,453 eligible, unduplicated submissions with complete sexual behavior information. Median age of respondents was 23 years. More than 80% had attended college, 66.7% self-identified as gay, 85.4% had gone on-line to seek male partners in the last 12 months. 59% did not think they were at risk of HIV infection. During the past 6 months, 75.8% of respondents had sex only with other men and 7.6% of respondents also had sex with women. 48.0% of these sexually active respondents had more than one male partner, and 72.1% had anal sex. 40.0% of the latter did not use a condom at last anal sex. Respondents were more likely to have unprotected anal sex if they did not think they were at risk of HIV infection (relative risk (RR): 1.4; 95%CI: 1.1-1.6), and if the last anal sex partner was a regular partner (RR: 1.5; 95%CI: 1.2-1.9).

Conclusions: Despite having attended college, many of these young Vietnamese MSM Internet users think they are not at risk and have unprotected anal intercourse. HIV prevention interventions for MSM, including Internet-based programs, should be scaled up.

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