A survey conducted over 20 years in 35 African countries shows that one in ten sexually active men is 50% more likely to live with HIV.
According to UNAIDS, 37.7 million people were living with HIV by 2020.
Sex workers represent one of several key demographics who are at significantly higher risk of acquiring HIV. However, their clients are also playing an important role in the HIV transmission network and past research and HIV prevention efforts have often neglected men who pay for sex.
Instead, sex workers are assigned greater responsibility and burden for the prevention of HIV transmission.
Carolyn Hodgins of McGill University, Canada, and her colleagues have presented their findings in the open-access journal Plus MedicineTo understand the dynamics of HIV in transactional sex and to identify new opportunities for prevention.
By meta-analyzing data from 87 surveys of men who lived in sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2020, which included more than 368,000 participants, we have a real insight into the way certain demographics affect the spread of HIV. Is.
50% more likely to live with HIV
In analyzing comprehensive survey results, researchers found that 8% of sexually active participants had ever paid for sex and were therefore 50% more likely to live with HIV than men who had never had sex. had not paid.
Among men who were clients of sex workers between 2010 and 2020, 68% reported using condoms during their most recent paid sex encounter – although this percentage was lower in the last decade.
The study authors suggested that male clients of sex workers should be considered a key population that is at high risk of HIV and that there is a need for increased protection efforts, including better access to HIV testing and initiatives to encourage condom use.
The study authors said: “We found that men who paid for sex in sub-Saharan Africa were 50% more likely to live with HIV than other men. Men who pay for sex They should be recognized as a priority population for HIV prevention.”
“These figures are striking and are consistent with HIV services for men paying for sex in the region. Identifying, starting, and maintaining HIV-infected men on ART with new HIV infections reported in the region each year It is important to reduce the incidence,” says Dr Shannon Hader, Deputy Executive Director Programs, UNAIDS, Switzerland.