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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Risk factors for incident HIV infection in men having sex with men: a case-control study

Tim R. H. Read A B C , Jane Hocking A , Vikki Sinnott A and Margaret Hellard A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research, Prahran, Victoria 3004, Australia.

B Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, 580 Swanston St, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: tread@mshc.org.au

Sexual Health 4(1) 35-39 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH06043
Submitted: 14 July 2006  Accepted: 24 January 2007   Published: 26 February 2007

Abstract

Background: HIV notifications affecting men having sex with men (MSM) in Victoria, Australia have been increasing. This study aimed to determine current risk factors for HIV infection in this population. Methods: Case-control study. Cases were MSM infected within the previous year (incident cases) as indicated by a previous negative test or seroconversion illness. Controls were MSM with a negative HIV test at the same clinic. From May 2001 to May 2003, cases and controls were interviewed about sexual behaviour, drug and alcohol use and mental health and sexually transmissible infections (STI) in the year before their HIV diagnosis. Results: Twenty-six cases and 52 controls were recruited. Risk factors in the year before diagnosis of incident HIV infection included: receptive unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with ejaculation with casual partners (odds ratio [OR] and 95% confidence interval 57.2 [6.7, 489.4]); insertive UAI with ejaculation with >1 casual partners (OR 19.2 [2.2, 168.9]); having >14 casual partners at sex venues (OR 3.2 [1.1, 9.1]); and consuming >60 g alcohol at one sitting at least weekly (OR 3.6 [1.1, 11.4]). Cases were also more likely to have anal sex with >100 partners in their life and cases had more casual partners than controls in the year before the test. Cases were more likely to have consumed alcohol or amphetamines during a high-risk sexual episode in the year before the test. Conclusions: UAI remains the most important behavioural risk for HIV in Australian MSM. Risk is increased by larger numbers of partners, partners met at sex venues and sex under the influence of alcohol.

Additional keywords: epidemiology, HIV transmission, homosexual men, sexual behaviour.


Acknowledgements

We thank the study participants and Kim Benton, Nick Crofts, Bill Maskill, Geoff Aldred, Rebecca Guy, Catherine Keenan, Kate Wilson, Mika Tsukiyama, Ken Sikaris, Beng Eu, Sven Strecker, Norm Roth, Mike Porter, Richard Young, Helen Wood, Darren Russell, Jeff Wilcox, Jonathan Anderson, BK Tee, Steven Rowles, Nick Medland, Ian Chenoweth, Tina Schmidt, Peter Hayes, Pat Charles, Denis Spelman, Edwina Wright and Eric Salter. This study was funded by the Victorian Department of Human Services.


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