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EMIS 2017 Journal Articles 2017

Social and behavioural determinants of syphilis: Modelling based on repeated cross-sectional surveys from 2010 and 2017 among 278,256 men who have sex with men in 31 European countries

Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2022 Aug 9;22:100483. doi: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2022.100483. eCollection 2022 Nov.

Authors: Ana Mendez-Lopez, David Stuckler, Ulrich Marcus, Ford Hickson, Teymur Noori, Robert N Whittaker, Klaus Jansen, Asuncion Diaz, Lukasz Henszel, Annie Velter, Jan C Semenza, Axel J Schmidt

Abstract

Background: Syphilis case notifications among men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) have increased markedly over the past two decades in Europe. We tested several potential factors for this resurgence.

Methods: Self-reported data from two cross-sectional waves of the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS-2010 and EMIS-2017, N = 278,256 participants living in 31 European countries) were used to fit multivariable hierarchical logistic regression models designed to evaluate potential social, behavioural, and interventional determinants of syphilis diagnosis. Additional multivariable hierarchical negative binomial models investigated determinants of the number of non-steady male condomless anal intercourse (CAI) partners. We tested the hypothesis that more CAI and syphilis-screening are associated with syphilis resurgence, both linked to use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Findings: Between 2010 and 2017, incidence of syphilis diagnosis in the previous 12 months rose from 2.33% (95%CI: 2.26-2.40) of respondents reporting a syphilis diagnosis in 2010 compared with 4.54% (95%CI: 4.42-4.66) in 2017. Major factors contributing to syphilis diagnosis were living with diagnosed HIV (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.67, 95%CI: 2.32-3.07), each additional non-steady male CAI partner (aOR 1.01, 95%CI: 1.01-1.01), recency of STI-screening (previous month vs no screening, aOR 25.76, 95%CI: 18.23-36.41), selling sex (aOR 1.45, 95%CI: 1.27-1.65), and PrEP use (aOR 3.02, 95%CI: 2.30-3.96). Living with diagnosed HIV (adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR) 3.91, 95%CI: 3.77-4.05), selling sex (aIRR 4.39, 95%CI: 4.19-4.59), and PrEP use (aIRR 5.82, 95%CI: 5.29-6.41) were associated with a higher number of non-steady male CAI partners. The association between PrEP use and increased chance of syphilis diagnosis was mediated by STI-screening recency and number of non-steady male CAI partners, both substantially higher in 2017 compared to 2010.

Interpretation: Syphilis cases are concentrated in three MSM population groups: HIV-diagnosed, PrEP users, and sex workers. Behavioural and interventional changes, particularly more non-steady male CAI partners and recency of STI-screening, are major contributing factors for increasing syphilis diagnoses among MSM in Europe.

Funding: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Available online

Categories
EMIS 2017 Journal Articles 2017

HIV test and knowledge of U=U: insights from MSM living in Portugal and participating in EMIS 2017

European Journal of Public Health, Volume 30, Issue Supplement_5, September 2020, ckaa165.996, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa165.996

Authors: J P Costa, P Meireles, A Aguiar, A J Schmidt, H Barros

Abstract

Recently, it became clear that undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U), stressing the importance of engaging in medical care and adhering to antiretroviral therapy. HIV testing and counselling (HTC) are offered in different settings and can be an opportunity to inform people. We aimed to understand if HIV testing history, including recency, place and, result, was associated with U=U knowledge.

We used data from 2242 MSM living in Portugal participating in EMIS 2017 that answered if they already knew that “A person with HIV who is on effective treatment (called ‘undetectable viral load’) cannot pass their virus to someone else during sex”, opting of 5 possible answers, dichotomized in “I already knew” vs. any other option. Regarding HIV testing history, participants were categorized as follows:1. HIV positive; 2. HIV negative and last test ≤12 months in a community setting; 3. HIV negative and last test ≤12 months in a medical setting, and 4. never tested for HIV or last test >12 months or tested in other settings (reference). Logistic regression models were fitted to estimate crude and city size and education-adjusted associations.

The median (P25; P75) age of participants was 34 (25; 43) years. No significant statistical association was found with age or current occupation. Those with more years of education and living in a big or very big city were more likely to know that U=U (aOR:1.55; 95%CI:1.20-1.99 and aOR:1.26; 95%CI:1.04-1.53, respectively). Considering HIV testing history and diagnosis, men with diagnosed HIV (aOR:6.33; 95%CI:4.50-8.90), those who had the last test in community setting (aOR:2.44; 95%CI:1.87-3.17) and those who had the last test in a medical setting (aOR: 1.57; 95%CI:1.26-1.95) were more aware of U=U than those not tested in the last 12 months.

Our results suggest that there is a gradient of U=U knowledge associated with HIV testing history among MSM. Efforts should focus on improving counselling about U=U at all HIV testing settings.

Key messages

  • The knowledge of U=U seems to be associated with the place, recency and result of the last HIV test.
  • Counselling should focus on the best evidence available at all HIV testing settings, to inform and empower the individuals.

Available online