Anova doctor comments on new MSM study

Anova's Dr Kevin Rebe provides expert context and commentary on the HSRC's newly released MSM-focused study on the Mail & Guardian online.

In the wake of the study's release today, Dr Rebe clarified that no accurate figures exist on the number of men who have sex with men (MSM) who identify as heterosexual in South Africa.

Dr Rebe also clarified why MSM were biologically at higher risk of HIV infection, saying that it "is due to the friable nature of the rectal mucosa, which does not contain mucous-producing cells as compared to the thicker, self-lubricating lining of the vagina".

Hailed as the largest MSM-centred South African research study, the Marang study focused on black and coloured, gay, bisexual and heterosexual identifying MSM from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Given the samples used, Rebe warned that the HSRC's study results might not be true for MSM across the country.

The Marang study found that HIV prevalence increased with age across all three cities, with HIV prevalence higher among those over 25 as compared to those who fell into the 18-24 age bracket.

According to the study, married MSM in Durban and Cape Town had a higher HIV prevalence than their single counterparts, whereas the reverse was true for married MSM from Johannesburg, where single MSM were more at risk.

Click here to access the HSRC book.

Click here to read the full M&G article.

Dr Kevin Rebe is an infectious diseases physician from the Anova Health Institut's Health4Men project

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