High Prevalence of Concurrent Male-Male Partnerships in the Context of Low Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Bamako, Mali

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Abstract

Background

Concurrent male-male sexual partnerships have been understudied in sub-Saharan Africa and are especially important because human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence and acquisition probability are higher among men who have sex with men (MSM) than among heterosexual men and women.

Methods

We conducted a respondent-driven sampling survey of 552 men who have sex with men in Bamako, Mali from October 2014 to February 2015. Eligibility criteria included 18 years or older, history of oral or anal sex with another man in the last 6 months, residence in or around Bamako in the last 6 months, ability to communicate in French.

Results

HIV prevalence was 13.7%, with 86.7% of MSM with HIV unaware of their infection. Concurrent male-male sexual partnerships were common, with 60.6% of MSM having a concurrent male sexual partnerships or believing their sex partner did in the last 6 months, and 27.3% having a concurrent male sexual partnerships and believing their sex partner did in the last 6 months. Over half (52.5%) of MSM had sex with women, and 30.8% had concurrent male partnerships and sex with a woman in the last 6 months. Concurrency was more likely among MSM with limited education, telling only MSM of same-sex behaviors, high social cohesion, and not knowing anyone with HIV.

Conclusions

The high proportion of HIV-infected MSM in Bamako who are unaware of their HIV infection and the high prevalence of concurrent partnerships could further the spread of HIV in Bamako. Increasing testing through peer educators conducting mobile testing could improve awareness of HIV status and limit the spread of HIV in concurrent partnerships.

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