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Incidence of and temporal relationships between HIV, herpes simplex II virus, and syphilis among men who have sex with men in Bangkok, Thailand: an observational cohort
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  • Alternative Title:
    BMC Infect Dis
  • Description:

    High HIV incidence has been detected among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Thailand, but the relationship and timing of HIV, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), and syphilis is unknown. This analysis measures incidence, temporal relationships, and risk factors for HIV, HSV-2, and syphilis among at-risk MSM in the Bangkok MSM Cohort Study.


    Between April 2006 and December 2010, 960 men negative for HIV, HSV-2, and syphilis at entry enrolled and contributed 12–60 months of follow-up data. Behavioral questionnaires were administered at each visit; testing for HIV antibody was performed at each visit, while testing for syphilis and HSV-2 were performed at 12 month intervals. We calculated HIV, HSV-2, and syphilis incidence, assessed risk factors with complementary log-log regression, and among co-infected men, measured temporal relationships between infections with Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and paired t-test.


    The total number of infections and incidence density for HIV, HSV-2, and syphilis were 159 infections and 4.7 cases/100 PY (95 % Confidence Interval (CI): 4.0–5.4), 128 infections and 4.5/100 PY (95 % CI: 3.9–5.5), and 65 infections and 1.9/100 PY (95 % CI: 1.5–2.5), respectively. Among men acquiring >1 infection during the cohort period, mean time to HIV and HSV-2 infection was similar (2.5 vs. 2.9 years; p = 0.24), while syphilis occurred significantly later following HIV (4.0 vs. 2.8 years, p < 0.01) or HSV-2 (3.8 vs. 2.8 years, p = 0.04) infection. The strongest independent predictor of any single infection in adjusted analysis was acquisition of another infection; risk of syphilis (Adjusted Hazards Ratio (AHR) = 3.49, 95 % CI: 1.89–6.42) or HIV (AHR = 2.26, 95 % CI: 1.47–3.48) acquisition during the cohort was significantly higher among men with incident HSV-2 infection. No single independent behavioral factor was common to HIV, HSV-2, and syphilis acquisition.


    HIV and HSV-2 incidence was high among this Thai MSM cohort. However, acquisition of HIV and co-infection with either HSV-2 or syphilis was low during the time frame men were in the cohort. Evaluation of behavioral risk factors for these infections suggests different risks and possible different networks.

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