BMC public health 2016 08 2416(1) 871 doi 10.1186/s12889-016-3561-4
The HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Peru (12.4 %) is 30 times higher than in the general adult population (0.4 %). It is critical for community-based organizations to understand how to provide HIV services to MSM while maximizing limited resources. This study describes the HIV prevalence and risk profiles of MSM seeking HIV services at a community-based organization in Lima, Peru. It then compares HIV prevalence between those who found out about the HIV services through different sources.
A cross-sectional study of MSM seeking HIV services at Epicentro Salud in Lima, Peru for the first time between April 2012 and October 2013. We compared HIV prevalence among MSM who found out about Epicentro via online sources of information (N = 419), those using in-person sources (friends, partners) (N = 907), and sex workers (N = 140) using multivariable logistic regression models.
HIV prevalence was 18.3 % overall: 23.2 % among MSM using online sources, 19.3 % among sex workers, and 15.9 % among MSM using in-person sources. However, when compared to the in-person group, sexual risk behaviors were not statistically higher among MSM using online sources. For the sex worker group, some behaviors were more common, while others were less. After adjusting for confounders, the odds of having HIV was higher for the online group (Odds Ratio = 1.61; 95 % Confidence Interval: 1.19-2.18), but not for the sex worker group (OR = 1.12; 95 % CI: 0.68-1.86), compared to the in-person group.
Internet-based promotion appears to successfully reach MSM at high risk of HIV in Peru. Outreach via this medium can facilitate HIV diagnosis, which is the critical first step in getting infected individuals into HIV care. For community-based organizations working in resource-limited settings, this may be an effective strategy for engaging a subset of high-risk persons in HIV care.