PLoS One 2022;17(11):e0277518. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277518
Authors: Michael Reyes-Díaz, Ana Celly, Cinta Folch, Nicolas Lorente, Valeria Stuardo, Maria Amelia Veras, Henrique Barros, Paula Meireles, Dorian Ramírez, Kai J Jonas, Ulrich Marcus, Axel J Schmidt, Carlos F Caceres, Jordi Casabona
Despite men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) from Latin America (LA) are still a vulnerable population for known health-related conditions and social problems, availability of comparable data across LA countries for assessment and monitoring purposes is limited. The objective of this article is to present the study design and the questionnaire of LAMIS-2018 (Latin America MSM Internet Survey), its recruitment strategy, rates and sources by country, and the lessons learned from its implementation. LAMIS-2018 was a cross-sectional, internet-based survey targeting MSM living in 18 LA countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela) that gathered data about sexual behaviors, HIV/STI and viral hepatitis knowledge, prophylactic use of antiretrovirals, psychosocial health, and access to sexual health services. The survey went online for four months and was available in three languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch). Promotion was carried out using dating apps, websites, social networks, and by community-based and academic organizations of each participating country directly in gay venues and in their own premises. Overall, 64,655 MSM participated in LAMIS-2018. Dating apps and websites were the most important recruitment source in most countries, except for Honduras, Nicaragua, and Suriname, where community-based organizations recruited most of the participants. Beyond the LAMIS-2018 implementation description, we highlight the feasibility of such a study in this context, based on the collaboration between community-based and academic organizations to obtain a large sample of MSM in the region. LAMIS-2018 data will contribute to identify determinants of risk behaviors and prevention needs of vulnerable MSM populations in each country of the region.