Quantifying Unmet Prevention Needs Among MSM in Europe Through a Multi-site Bio-behavioural Survey
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The HIV epidemic represents an important public health issue in Europe particularly among men who have sex with men (MSM). Global AIDS Monitoring indicators (GAM) have been widely and jointly promoted as a set of crucial standardised items to be adopted for monitoring and responding to the epidemic. Methods: The Sialon II study, implemented in 13 European cities (2013-14), was a complex multicentre integrated bio-behavioural cross-sectional survey targeted at MSM, with a concomitant collection of behavioural and biological (oral fluid or blood specimens) data. Rigorous sampling approaches for hard-to-reach populations were used (time-location sampling and respondent-driven sampling) and GAM indicators were calculated; sampling frames were adapted to allow weighted estimates of GAM indicators. Results: 4,901 MSM were enrolled. HIV prevalence estimates ranged from 2.4% in Stockholm to 18.0% in Bucharest. When exploring city-level correlations between GAM indicators, prevention campaigns significantly correlated with levels of condom use and level of HIV testing among MSM. Conclusion: The Sialon II project has made an important contribution to the monitoring and evaluation of the HIV epidemic across Europe, integrating the use of GAM indicators within a second generation HIV surveillance systems approach and in participatory collaboration with MSM communities. It influenced the harmonisation of European data collection procedures and indicators via GAM country reporting and contributed essential knowledge informing the development and implementation of strategic, evidence-based HIV prevention campaigns for MSM.
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