High Rate Of HIV Among Men Who Have Sex With Men In China
Increasing rate of HIV/STD disease is being reported among ‘men who have sex with men’ with high risk behaviors in Africa and Asia, according to a groundbreaking paper in the April issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, official journal of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, and pharmacy.
The epidemic of HIV/STD in men who have sex with men (MSM) has been perceived as a public health problem occurring mainly in the Western world. However, three articles in the April issue of the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, highlight the fact that increasing HIV/STD disease is being reported in MSM with high risk behaviors in Africa and Asia.
In one article, Dr. Yang and colleagues address the associated factors and increasing spread of HIV among MSM in Nanjing, China. Using respondent-driven sampling methods, he reported an HIV incidence rate of 5.12 cases per 100 person years. In a commentary, Dr. Chen et. al. summarize the rapid increase of HIV and syphilis infections among MSM in China which they consider could lead to a potential pandemic in the country. They stress that in recent years, China has considered “MSM as a priority population for HIV prevention and control.”
An editorial by Dr. Mayer and his colleagues points out that MSM exists in all populations. They stress that the simple compartmentalization of the HIV epidemic into one that affects MSM in industrialized countries and is a heterosexual epidemic in developing or less developed countries is not valid. They document the high prevalence of HIV/STD in some MSM populations in Africa and Asia, and emphasize the need to act now to prevent the massive spread of disease. Certainly an epidemic of HIV in MSM can help drive an epidemic among heterosexuals.
That HIV/STD disease transmission in MSM is often hidden in resource poor countries, which may reflect failure of public health programs, or homophobia that stigmatizes MSM behaviors and inhibits MSM seeking medical care. The new research reported in three scholarly articles in the April issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases demonstrate that MSM high risk behaviors are global and should be acknowledged, so HIV/STD control and prevention programs can be made available for this population. Comprehensive prevention programs for HIV/STD in MSM are necessary to help control spread. Concealing or denying this behavior simply leads to more disease.