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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED KINGDOM: Central and East European Migrant Men Who Have Sex with Men: An Exploration of Sexual Risk in the UK
Alison R. Evans, and others
September 26, 2011
Sexually Transmitted Infections Vol. 87; P. 325-330 (06..11) -

Ten central and east European (CEE) nations have joined the European Union since May 2004. "While HIV rates remain low among [MSM] in CEE countries, there is no research on the sexual behavior of CEE MSM in the UK," the authors wrote.

The current project used two popular MSM websites to recruit CEE MSM in the UK (n=691) to complete an online questionnaire. Most of the men had arrived in the UK since May 2004. Nearly one-third (30.7 percent) reported a previous STD diagnosis, while 4.8 percent said they were HIV-positive. Most of the HIV-positive MSM were diagnosed in the UK. More than one-fifth (22.8 percent) reported unprotected anal intercourse with a casual partner of unknown or serodiscordant HIV status.

MSM who were residents of the UK for longer periods of time (>5 years vs. <1 year) reported more partners in the previous 5 years (67.2 percent reported more than 10 partners, vs. 50.4 percent of the newer residents, p<0.001). MSM in the UK for more than 5 years also were less likely to report that their most recent partner was from their country of origin (14.9 percent vs. 33.6 percent, p<0.001). Among migrant CEE MSM living in London, 15.4 percent had received payment for sex in the UK, and 41.5 percent had taken recreational drugs in the previous year.

"CEE MSM in the UK are at risk for the acquisition and transmission of STI and HIV through unprotected anal intercourse with nonconcordant casual partners," the authors concluded. "Sexual mixing with men from other countries, commercial sex, and increased partner numbers may introduce additional risk. This has important implications for the cross-border transmission of infections between the UK and CEE countries."