Bundesgesundheitsblatt – Gesundheitsforschung – Gesundheitsschutz (doi: 10.1007/s00103-021-03429-3)
Authors: Ulrich Marcus & Susanne B. Schink
Background: Sexual minorities are highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), mental health problems such as depression and suicidality, and substance use- associated health and social problems.
Research question: We describe selected findings from the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) 2017, one of the largest online surveys of men who have sex with men, and discuss their implications for prevention in MSM in Germany.
Materials and methods: The overall aim of EMIS-2017 was to collect data for planning HIV and STI prevention and treatment programs. The target population were men living in Europe who have sex with men and/or are attracted to men. The questionnaire contained questions on demography, morbidities, beha- viour, needs and interventions. Participants were recruited mainly via two popular online dating platforms from 10/2017 to 01/2018.
Results and discussion: EMIS-2017 shows that MSM are severely affected by psychological stress and STIs. In terms of psychological stress, younger MSM suffer in particular from depressive disorders and suicidality, while the use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances is of concern among older MSM. MSM are more often affected by STIs than the heterosexual majority population. Many STIs are a- or pauci-symptomatic; thus, screening based on risk-assessment is favoured to detect infections. However, for the time being, for some STIs there is no medical and/or public health evidence to support treatment of asymptomatic infections. EMIS-2017 identified needs by subgroups as far as knowledge gaps on PEP (HIV post-exposure prophylaxis) and PrEP (HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis), being reached by information and prevention offers as well as insufficient uptake of such offers.