Self-reported sexual behaviour and HIV risk taking among men who have sex with men in Fortaleza, Brazil

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To describe and identify sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics and other factors related to high-risk behaviour for HIV infection of men who have sex with men (MSM) living in Fortaleza, Brazil.


A survey was carried out among 400 MSM aged 14-65 years and recruited through the snowball technique or in gay-identified venues. A semi-structured questionnaire was conducted among them. Logistic regression analysis was used to model the dichotomous outcome (high risk or low risk).


Forty-four per cent of the participants reported engaging in high-risk sexual behaviour in the previous year. MSM less informed about AIDS, reporting more sexual partners, reporting at least one female partner in the previous year, having anal sex as the favourite way to have sex, and having great enjoyment of unprotected anal sex were more likely to be engaged in risky behaviour. Twenty-three per cent of participants reported at least one sexual contact with women during the previous year. Two-thirds of men who had unprotected sex with their female partners also had unprotected anal sex with their male partners.


A large proportion of MSM in Fortaleza still remain at elevated risk for contracting HIV infection. The factors predictive of high-risk sexual behaviour are significant in spreading HIV infection among the MSM population and also among their female partners. The lifestyles of these men are different to those of men from other parts of Brazil or outside the country. Preventive interventions need to be culturally and socially specific in order to be effective.

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