Sex Practices by HIV Awareness and Engagement in the Continuum of Care Among MSM: A National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Analysis in 21 U.S. Cities.

Document Type

Journal Article

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AIDS and behavior





Inclusive Pages





Adolescent; Adult; Anti-HIV Agents; Awareness; Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; Bisexuality; Cities; Continuity of Patient Care; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; HIV Infections; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Homosexuality, Male; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Risk-Taking; Sexual Partners; United States


Using National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) cross-sectional survey and HIV testing data in 21 U.S. metropolitan areas, we identify sex practices among sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM) associated with: (1) awareness of HIV status, and (2) engagement in the HIV care continuum. Data from 2008, 2011, and 2014 were aggregated, yielding a sample of 5079 sexually active MSM living with HIV (MLWH). Participants were classified into HIV status categories: (1) unaware; (2) aware and out of care; (3) aware and in care without antiretroviral therapy (ART); and (4) aware and on ART. Analyses were conducted examining sex practices (e.g. condomless sex, discordant condomless sex, and number of sex partners) by HIV status. Approximately 30, 5, 10 and 55% of the sample was classified as unaware, aware and out of care, aware and in care without ART, and aware and on ART, respectively. Unaware MLWH were more likely to report condomless anal sex with a last male partner of discordant or unknown HIV status (25.9%) than aware MLWH (18.0%, p value < 0.0001). Unaware MLWH were 3 times as likely to report a female sex partner in the prior 12 months as aware MLWH (17.3 and 5.6%, p-value < 0.0001). When examining trends across the continuum of care, reports of any condomless anal sex with a male partner in the past year (ranging from 65.0 to 70.0%), condomless anal sex with a male partner of discordant or unknown HIV status (ranging from 17.7 to 21.3%), and median number of both male and female sex partners were similar. In conclusion, awareness of HIV and engagement in care was not consistently associated with protective sex practices, highlighting the need for continued prevention efforts.


This is an open access PubMed Central article.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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