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Men Who Have Sex With Men in the United States: Demographic and Behavioral Characteristics and Prevalence of HIV and HSV-2 Infection: Results from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2006

Xu, Fujie MD, PHD; Sternberg, Maya R. PHD; Markowitz, Lauri E. MD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: June 2010 - Volume 37 - Issue 6 - pp 399-405
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181ce122b
Original Study

Objectives: To describe demographic and behavioral characteristics and the prevalence of HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infections in men who had sex with men identified through a nationally representative, population-based survey.

Methods: As part of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 2001–2006, men 18 to 59 years of age were interviewed about sexual behavior using audio computer assisted self-interview and were tested for antibodies to HIV and HSV-2.

Results: Of the 4319 men interviewed, 5.2% reported having ever had sex with men (MSM). MSM were more likely than non-MSM (those reporting female partners only) to have first sex at <15 years (31.9% vs. 17.3%), have ≥10 lifetime sex partners (73.6% vs. 40.8%), and have ever used cocaine (46.1% vs. 26.6%) (all P < 0.004). Among MSM, the prevalence of HIV and HSV-2 was 9.1% and 18.4%, respectively. Only 44.5% of MSM reported their sexual orientation as homosexual or gay. Comparing with bisexual and heterosexual MSM, homosexual MSM reported the highest number of lifetime male partners and had the highest HIV prevalence (16.5%).

Conclusions: In this population-based sample of men in the United States, self-reported same-sex behavior and homosexual orientation are strong markers for high risk of HIV infection.

A nationally representative survey found that self-reported same-sex behavior and homosexual orientation are strong markers for HIV infection, but not for HSV-2 infection among men aged 18 to 49 years.

From the Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Correspondence: Fujie Xu, MD, PhD, Mailstop E-02, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail: fax1@cdc.gov

Received for publication September 11, 2009, and accepted December 1, 2009.

© Copyright 2010 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association