21 Jul CDC Recommends Routine Annual HIV Testing for Sexually Active MSM
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Singh: While there is a great deal of information about the epidemiology of HIV among MSM (men who have sex with men), there is much less information about a subset of MSM who also have sex with women – MSMW. In this article, CDC researchers examined HIV diagnoses among MSMW and MSM only (MSMO) from 2008 to 2011 to obtain a better understanding of the characteristics of men diagnosed with HIV who have ever had sex with both men and women. Of all MSM diagnosed with HIV during 2011, 26% also had sex with women with women in the past. From 2008 to 2011, HIV diagnoses among MSMW were relatively stable while there was an increase among young MSMO aged 13 to 29 years.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Singh: Despite prevention efforts, among MSMW, HIV diagnoses are not decreasing but remain stable. There continues to be an increase in HIV diagnoses among MSMO, specifically, those aged 13 to 29 years.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Singh: For MSM, increasing HIV testing and reducing risk behaviors are essential. CDC currently recommends routine annual HIV testing for sexually active MSM. Increasing awareness among MSMW and MSM of their HIV diagnoses should continue to be a priority for reducing risk behaviors and accessing medical care and treatment to improve quality of life. Clinicians should also recognize that MSMW in the United States face unique sexual and social experiences that affect their sexual health, both of which place them at risk for HIV and other STIs. MSMW may identify less likely with the MSM community and may miss prevention efforts targeted at MSM. Clinicians should continue to recommend HIV risk reduction behaviors to both MSMW and MSMO.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Singh: HIV prevention among MSM is a top priority at CDC. CDC’s High-Impact Prevention approach focuses prevention resources on activities that will have the greatest impact on reducing HIV among Americans at risk, including MSMW. Future research should include looking at the complex sexual and social experiences of MSMW in order to provide tailored interventions.