Objectives: The health and prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapies (ART), delivered as part of comprehensive HIV care programs remain unrealized for men who have sex with men (MSM). This multilevel study explores the correlates of drop-off from the HIV care continuum in an international study of MSM, taking into account individual and regional differences in access to and utilization of care.
Methods: We conducted a study of the continuum of HIV diagnosis and care among 6095 MSM using data collected from an international online survey of MSM conducted in 2012. In this model of the HIV treatment cascade, we treated each point along the continuum as an outcome variable. We then investigated the relationships between clinical care outcomes and a set of demographic and psychosocial factors that were hypothesized to correlate with the outcomes using bivariate and multivariable statistical techniques.
Results: Among MSM living with HIV for longer than 12 months (n=632), 50%(n=319) were virologically suppressed. Among MSM recently infected with HIV (n=91), the proportion was relatively smaller at 33%. Significant correlates of being on ART and retained in care included: accessibility of HIV treatment; comfort with a healthcare provider; and engagement in a gay community. Perceptions of homophobia were negatively associated with being on ART and being retained in care.
Conclusions: These findings underscore the need for service delivery models that sensitively address HIV among MSM. Public health officials should adopt comprehensive HIV programs that include mutually reinforcing components and that address varying needs of MSM newly diagnosed and living with HIV. Comprehensive HIV programs must also support the critical role communities play in linking and retaining MSM into HIV services. Further studies validating the findings in country-specific contexts are warranted.
- Access to care
- HIV care continuum
- HIV diagnosis
- HIV treatment cascade
- Men who have sex with men
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases