A 6th wave of data collection was carried out in May 2011. We surveyed 1513 men in gay bars and saunas in Glasgow and Edinburgh; 1216 provided oral fluid samples to be tested for HIV. The aim of the 2011 survey is to assess prevalence of HIV, undiagnosed infection and sexual risk behaviour, and specifically examine associations between alcohol and drug use and HIV risk. We will also explore the frequency of HIV testing and the extent to which going for an HIV test is becoming a routine health-seeking behaviour for gay men.
Our first publication from the 2011 Survey was on the Awareness and Willingness to use Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. Around half of the study participants were willing to take part in a PrEP study (n = 695; 49.9%) or to take PrEP on a daily basis (n = 756; 54.3%). Willingness to take PrEP was associated with lower levels of education, regular gay scene attendance, ‘high-risk’ unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) and testing for HIV or STI in the previous 12 months. Reasons for not wanting to participate in a PrEP study or take PrEP included perceptions of low personal risk of HIV and concerns with using medication as an HIV prevention method.
We also examined alcohol and drug use during UAI among gay and bisexual men in Scotland for the first time since the 1990s. 639 men reported UAI in the previous 12 months in 2011 and 14.4% were always and 63.4% were sometimes drunk during UAI; 36.3% alwways/sometimes used poppers; 22.2% always/sometimes used stimulant or other recreational/illicit drugs; and 14.1% always/sometimes used Viagra. Having UAI with more than one partner was associated with stimulant or recrational/illlicit drug use during UAI and UAI with casual partners was more likely among men who reported poppers use. Men who reported always being drunk during UAI were more likely to report UAI with multiple, casual and uknown/discordant HIV status partners than men who were not. Our study suggests alcohol and drug use could be quite common during UAI among gay and bisexual men in Scotland. Brief alcohol or drug interventions, particularly in clinical seettings, have been advocated but should be properly evaluated in this population.
Li, J, McDaid L. Alcohol and drug use during unprotected anal intercourse among gay and bisexual men in Scotland: What are the implications for HIV Prevention? Sexually Transmitted Infections 2014;90:125-132. open access
Wallace L, Li J, McDaid LM. HIV prevalence and undiagnosed infection among a community sample of gay and bisexual men in Scotland, 2005-2011: implications for HIV testing policy and prevention. PLoS One 2014;9:90805 open access
Young I, Li J, McDaid L. Awareness and willingness to use HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis amongst gay and bisexual men in Scotland: implications for biomedical HIV prevention. PLOS ONE 2013 8(5): e64038. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064038 open access