Trends in behaviours associated with HIV/STBBIs among gay men in Montreal: results from the ARGUS 2005 and 2008 surveys

Published: July 21, 2010

G. Lambert1,2, J. Cox3, Y. Miangotar4, C. Tremblay4, M. Alary5, J. Otis6, R. Remis7, C. Archibald8, M-trak study group

1Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec, Montreal, Canada, 2Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada, 3Mc Gill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada, 4Direction de Santé Publique de Montréal, Montréal, Canada, 5Université Laval, Québec, Canada, 6Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada, 7University of Toronto Medical School, Toronto, Canada, 8Agence de Santé Publique du Canada, Ottawa, Canada

Background: Explore the evolution of risk behaviours among gay men from 2005 to 2008.
Methods: ARGUS is part of M-Track, an enhanced surveillance system that monitors HIV/STBBIs and risk behaviours among MSM in Canada. Men were recruited through approximately 40 gay venues during both cycles of ARGUS. Subjects completed a self-administered questionnaire. Analyses were restricted to HIV-negative/unknown gay men in Montreal. Bivariate analyses assessed associations between selected behavioral variables and the year survey. For each variable, a multivariable logistic regression model was used to adjust for sample variation (recruitment site and socio-demographics) from 2005 to 2008. Only statistically significant findings are presented [OR (95%CI)].
Results: Data were available for 1409 and 1080 subjects in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Respondents in 2008 were more likely to report the following for the past six months: ≥6 male partners [1.34 (1.01-1.77)], anal sex with ≥6 male partners [1.64 (1.15-2.35)], looked for a sexual partner on the internet ≥1/week [2.58 (1.91-3.47)], been under the influence of ecstasy [1.52 (1.04-2.21)] or GHB [1.72 (1.15-2.59)] at least once during sex. Men were also more likely to have been tested for HIV [2.65 (1.74-4.04)] and to have been diagnosed with syphilis [2.40 (1.17-4.94)] during the last 12 months. Unprotected anal sex (UAS) with a “casual partner or a regular HIV-positive/unknown partner” and UAS as well as intentional UAS with a casual partner were not associated with the year survey.
Conclusions: Current trends suggest that HIV-negative/unknown gay men in Montreal are having a greater number of sexual and anal sex partners compared to 2005. They are also more likely to have recruited sexual partners by using the internet and to have had sex while using recreational drugs. There does not appear to have been any increase in the frequency of UAS with an “at risk” partner. Increase in recent HIV testing encouraging.

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