Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Risk Behaviours and HIV Infection among Men Having Sexual Relations with Men: Baseline Characteristics of Participants in the Omega Cohort Study, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Risk Behaviours and HIV Infection among Men Having Sexual Relations with Men: Baseline Characteristics of Participants in the Omega Cohort Study, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Article excerpt

AB ST RA CT

Objective: To describe characteristics of men having sex with men (MSM) participating in the Omega Cohort, to describe HIV-positive participants at baseline interview, and to estimate HIV incidence.

Methods: The Omega Cohort is a study on the incidence and psychosocial determinants of HIV infection among MSM living in Montreal. MSM complete a questionnaire and are tested for HIV every six months.

Results: During the previous six months, 31% and 12% of 810 participants (mean age=33 years) reported unprotected anal sex with regular and casual partners, respectively. Eight participants (0.98%) were HIV-infected at baseline. HIV incidence was 0.89 per 100 personyears (71787 person-years) [95% confidence interval: 0.36-1.83].

Conclusion: A significant proportion of participants reported current risk behaviours. Despite this, HIV incidence is relatively low. It is important to target MSM who do not practice safe sex and to encourage those practicing safe sex to sustain these behaviours.

A B R E G E

Objectif: Decrire les caracteristiques des hommes ayant des relations sexuelles avec d'autres hommes (HRSH) participant a la Cohorts Omega, caracteriser les participants seropositifs a Yentree dans l'etude, et estimer (incidence du VIH sur des donnees pr6liminaires.

Methods : La Cohorts Omega porte sur (incidence et les determinants psychosociaux de l'infection par le VIH chez les HRSH habitant Montreal. Les participants completent un questionnaire et sont tests pour le VIH a tous les six tools.

R*sultats: Lots des six derniers mois, 31 % et 12 % des 810 participants (age moyen=33 ans) ont eu des relations anales non proteg is avec des partenaires rWiers et occasionnels, respect tivement. Huit participants (0,98 %) &aient infectes par le VIH at l'entree dans l'6tude. L'incidence du VIH 6tait de 0,89 par 100 personne-annees (7/787 personne-annees) [intervalle de confiance it 95 %: 0,36-1,83].

Conclusion : Certains participants de la Cohorte Omega ont couramment des comportements at risque d'infection par le VIH. Malgre cette observation, l'incidence du VIH est relativement peu 6lev6e. 11 est primordial de cibler les HRSH qui pratiquent des comportements at risque et d'encourager ceux qui pratiquent deja des comportements sexuels sicuritaires at continuer ainsi.

Since 1981, numerous cohort studies of men having sexual relations with men (MSM) have been implemented.'-is However, few studies`' recruited MSM outside clinical settings, focussed on the psychosocial aspects associated with HIV infection,9 and were conducted with the aim of developing prevention programs in the gay community.913 Moreover, as most of the participants of these cohorts were recruited at the beginning of the 1980s, few recent data are available regarding young MSM.1-5'7.9,12-14 Diverse cultural settings observed among the different groups of MSM also suggest a need for local studies to better determine correlates of risk behaviours. 16

In Canada, the Vanguard Project was implemented in Vancouver6 whereas in Quebec, limited data are available on the HIV epidemic among MSM.'9 However, it seems that around 15% of Montreal's MSM are HIV-infected.'7-" The objectives of the Omega Cohort study are to estimate HIV incidence and identify factors associated with seroconversion among MSM (particularly men of less than 30 years of age) recruited mainly outside clinical settings of Montreal; to characterize changes in sexual behaviours over time; to identify psychosociosexual factors associated with each stage of sexual behaviour in a quantitative perspective; and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to community groups involved in HIV prevention.

More specifically, the objectives of the present analysis on preliminary data are to describe the characteristics of the Omega Cohort participants, to assess the characteristics of participants who were HIVpositive at entry in the Cohort and to obtain preliminary estimates of HIV incidence (this is an ongoing study with 787 person-years accumulated out of a total of over 6,000 planned). …

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