Prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Sexually Transmitted Infections and Risky Sexual Behaviors Among Men Visiting Gay Bathhouses in Taiwan

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This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and predictors of risky sexual behaviors among men visiting gay bathhouses.

Study Design:

A cross-sectional study was conducted at 8 gay bathhouses in Taiwan. Bathhouse attendees were invited to complete a questionnaire and to be screened for HIV/STIs.


Of 451 men recruited for the study, 339 (75%) completed the questionnaire and were screened for HIV/STIs. The study indicated that seroprevalence rates of anti-HIV-1 antibody, specific Treponema pallidum antibodies detected by hemagglutination assay, surface antigen of hepatitis B virus, IgG antibodies for hepatitis A virus, antibody for hepatitis C virus, and indirect hemagglutination antibody for Entamoeba histolytica (serum titer ≥1:128) were 8%, 18%, 16%, 38%, 3%, and 6%, respectively. Prevalence rates for chlamydial and gonococcal infections reflected by nucleic acid amplification tests in urine samples were 7% and 4%, respectively. Irregular use of condoms during oral sex, condom inaccessibility at bathhouses, unprotected sex at public venues, no prior HIV test, and 5 or more visits to bathhouses every month were independently associated with unprotected anal intercourse.


Men attending gay bathhouses report engaging in unsafe sex practices and are at substantial risk of acquisition of HIV/STIs. These findings highlight the need for more comprehensive prevention efforts at gay bathhouses.

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