XIX International AIDS Conference


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THAC0302 - Oral Abstract

Men who have sex with men and the HIV epidemic in Morocco: results from a respondent-driven sampling study

Presented by Alise Abadie (Morocco).

O. Mellouk1,2, K. Alami3, H. El Rhilani3, N. Rafif1, A. Abadie1, L. Ouarsas4, A. Bennani5, B. El Omari6, I. Oumzil7, L. Johnston8

1ALCS, Marrakech, Morocco, 2ITPC North Africa, Marrakech, Morocco, 3UNAIDS Morocco, Rabat, Morocco, 4ALCS, Agadir, Morocco, 5PNLS, Rabat, Morocco, 6Fonds Mondial, Rabat, Morocco, 7INH, Rabat, Morocco, 8UNAIDS, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Background: HIV prevalence in the general population in Morocco is below 1%. There is currently no reliable data documenting HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Morocco. This population is hard to reach due to social stigma, discrimination and the illegal status of male-to-male sex in Morocco. From November 2010 to March 2011, two integrated behavioural and biological surveillance (IBBS) surveys were conducted (Marrakech, Agadir), among MSM in Marrakech and Agadir to obtain measure HIV and syphlis prevalence and associated risk behaviors.
Methods: Using Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS), 669 MSM (346 in Marrakech and 323 in Agadir) were enrolled in the study. Respondents were males aged 18 and above who reported to have had anal sex with another male in the past six months. Consenting MSM completed a behavioral questionnaire and were tested for HIV and syphilis (venous blood). Weighted analysis was performed with Respondent Driven Sampling Analysis Tool (RDSAT) Version 6.0
Results: The median age of sexual debut for MSM was at 16 years. HIV prevalence among MSM in Agadir was 5.6% and 2.8% in Marrakech; prevalence of syphilis was 7.0% in Agadir and 10.8% in Marrakech. Among MSM who tested positive for HIV, 31.6% in Agadir and 56.4% in Marrakech were co-infected with syphilis. MSM reported multiple types of sexual partners, including occasional and commercial. Only 27.6% of MSM in Agadir and 17.4% of MSM in Marrakech reported always using a condom with any male partner during anal sex in the past six months.
Conclusions: MSM are at a high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Current prevalence of HIV in MSM is higher than the general population. These findings provide appropriate evidence to support the focus on addressing HIV among MSM in the National Strategic Plan 2012-2016 on HIV of Morocco.

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