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AIDS Educ Prev. 2001 Apr;13(2):175-88.

HIV risk behavior and risk-related characteristics of young Russian men who exchange sex for money or valuables from other men.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53202, USA.


One of the world's newest HIV epidemics is emerging now in Russia and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. We report on the HIV risk characteristics of young Russian men who exchange sex for money or valuables, a group that constitutes almost one-fourth of men surveyed recently in gay-identified venues in St. Petersburg. Among 96 MSM who have sex for economic gain, most reported multiple male and female partners, 45% had unprotected anal intercourse with their male partners in the past three months, and many not only received but also gave money or valuables themselves to their male partners. Relative to men who did not give sex for economic gain (n = 326), those who did were younger (n = .0001), less well-educated (p = .0001), and more often unemployed (p = .02). They also were less knowledgeable concerning even basic HIV risk reduction steps (p = .02) and held many misconceptions about safer sex. Men who exchanged sex for economic gain had more male (p = .001) and female partners (p = .01) in the past three months than men who did not, and one-third had been treated for STDs. In the context of Russia's rapid cultural and social changes, economic turmoil, and gay communities not yet experienced in AIDS, HIV prevention programs must be tailored to risk patterns and dynamics different than those found in the gay communities of many western countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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