A Single Question to Examine the Prevalence and Protective Effect of Seroadaptive Strategies Among Men Who Have Sex With Men

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Seroadaptive behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM) are common, but ascertaining behavioral information is challenging in clinical settings. To address this, we developed a single seroadaptive behavior question.


Men who have sex with men 18 years or older attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic in Seattle, WA, from 2013 to 2015, were eligible for this cross-sectional study. Respondents completed a comprehensive seroadaptive behavior questionnaire which included a single question that asked HIV-negative MSM to indicate which of 12 strategies they used in the past year to reduce their HIV risk. HIV testing was performed per routine clinical care. We used the κ statistic to examine agreement between the comprehensive questionnaire and the single question.


We enrolled HIV-negative MSM at 3341 (55%) of 6105 eligible visits. The agreement between the full questionnaire and single question for 5 behaviors was fair to moderate (κ values of 0.34–0.59). From the single question, the most commonly reported behaviors were as follows: avoiding sex with HIV-positive (66%) or unknown-status (52%) men and using condoms with unknown-status partners (53%); 8% of men reported no seroadaptive behavior. Men tested newly HIV positive at 38 (1.4%) of 2741 visits. HIV test positivity for the most commonly reported behaviors ranged from 0.8% to 1.3%. Men reporting no seroadaptive strategy had a significantly higher HIV test positivity (3.5%) compared with men who reported at least 1 strategy (1.3%; P = 0.02).


The single question performed relatively well against a comprehensive seroadaptive behaviors assessment and may be useful in clinical settings to identify men at greatest risk for HIV.

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