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Prevalence of HIV, STIs, and Risk Behaviors in a Cross-Sectional Community- and Clinic-Based Sample of Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in Lima, Peru



Further research is necessary to understand the factors contributing to the high prevalence of HIV/STIs among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Peru. We compared HIV/STI prevalence and risk factors between two non-probability samples of MSM, one passively enrolled from an STI clinic and the other actively enrolled from community venues surrounding the clinic in Lima, Peru.


A total of 560 self-identified MSM were enrolled between May-December, 2007. 438 subjects enrolled from a municipal STI clinic and 122 subjects enrolled during community outreach visits. All participants underwent screening for HIV, syphilis, HSV-2, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia and completed a survey assessing their history of HIV/STIs, prior HIV testing, and sexual behavior.


HIV prevalence was significantly higher among MSM enrolled from the clinic, with previously undiagnosed HIV identified in 9.1% compared with 2.6% of community participants. 15.4 % of all MSM screened were infected with ≥ 1 curable STI, 7.4% with early syphilis (RPR ≥ 1:16) and 5.5% with urethral gonorrhoea and/or chlamydia. No significant differences between populations were reported in prevalence of STIs, number of male sex partners, history of unprotected anal intercourse, or alcohol and/or drug use prior to sex. Exchange of sex for money or goods was reported by 33.5% of MSM enrolled from the clinic and 21.2% of MSM from the community (p = 0.01).


Our data demonstrate that the prevalence of HIV and STIs, including syphilis, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia are extremely high among MSM enrolled from both clinic and community venues in urban Peru. New strategies are needed to address differences in HIV/STI epidemiology between clinic- and community-enrolled samples of MSM.

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