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AIDS. 1996 Feb;10(2):187-92.

Trends in HIV seroprevalence in men who have sex with men: New York City Department of Health sexually transmitted disease clinics, 1988-1993.

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Office of AIDS Research and HIV Serosurveys, New York City Department of Health, NY 10013, USA.



To measure HIV seroprevalence trends in a primarily non-white sample (n = 1618) of men who have sex with men (MSM). The MSM were sampled at New York City Department of Health (NYC-DOH) sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics during 1988-1993.


Unlinked HIV-1 serosurvey using remnant serum originally drawn for routine syphilis screening.


Demographic, clinical and risk exposure data were abstracted from clinic charts. No other sources of data were used, and patients were not interviewed.


HIV seroprevalence in the overall sample declined from 53 to 34% between 1988 and 1993. The most dramatic decline was observed in white MSM (from 47 to 17%; n = 457). Seroprevalence in black MSM also fell (from 60 to 45%; n = 691). Seroprevalence in Hispanic men (n = 332) showed no decline, starting and ending the 5-year period at 39%. Bisexual MSM, who comprised one-quarter of the sample, experienced a shallower decline than other MSM (from 41 to 33%). The magnitude of the decline decreased with increasing age--for example, seroprevalence in MSM aged 20-24 years dropped by 62% (from 39 to 15%), whereas seroprevalence in MSM aged 40-44 years dropped by 10% (from 48 to 43%)--up through age 45 years, at which point another dramatic decline (from 53 to 21%) was observed. There was no decline in the high seroprevalence associated with a discharge diagnosis of gonorrhea (58%) or any genital ulcer disease (GUD; e.g., primary or secondary syphilis, chancroid or genital herpes, 52%). The proportion of STD diagnoses attributed to GUD rose from 8 to 14%.


A small number of MSM continued to present to NYC-DOH STD clinics and to leave with a diagnosed STD at a time when safe sex was aggressively promoted. The biological and behavioral associations between GUD and gonorrhea and HIV seroprevalence warrant continued investigation. Prevention programs targeted to young, minority and bisexual MSM are needed.

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