Syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Taiwan: Its association with HIV prevalence, awareness of HIV status, and use of antiretroviral therapy

Yen Fang Huang, Kenrad E. Nelson, Yu Ting Lin, Chin Hui Yang, Feng Yee Chang, Chih Yin Lew-Ting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To understand how awareness of HIV-positivity and the use of antiretroviral therapy associated with syphilis infection, 361 MSM attending 16 Hong-Pa (drug-and-sex parties) in Taiwan were studied. The syphilis rate of individuals within their first 2 years after HIV diagnosis (awareness) was lower than that in individuals who had not been diagnosed HIV infection prior to Hong-Pa (unawareness) (Adj OR = 0.24, P < 0.05). Notably, there was a decrease in the beneficial effect of HIV-positive status awareness on syphilis prevention with an increase in time since notification. Moreover, antiretroviral therapy was not associated with a lower incidence of syphilis, and syphilis infection peaked during the treatment dropout period. In conclusion, the duration of a protective effect of knowing one's HIV-positivity against syphilis infection was short, and the highest risk of syphilis infection was observed when patients discontinued antiretroviral therapy. Future research should examine the behavioral mechanisms involved in this prevention failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1406-1414
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS and behavior
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Awareness
  • HIV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Syphilis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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