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Is condom use by men who have sex with men associated with awareness about HIV?

Author(s): Fomenko, Tatiana

Journal: Tobacco Control and Public Health in Eastern Europe
ISSN 2222-2693

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 98;
Date: 2011;
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BACKGROUND. In all countries, most men who have sex with men (MSM) are at higher risk of getting HIV, which is caused by practices of unprotected sexual contacts. The level of awareness about the problem among general population and high-risk groups in some way affects the attitude to it. Accordingly, current level of knowledge/awareness about HIV/AIDS and their perception determines behavioral models practiced by the population and its groups. The objective of the study was to estimate the association between the sources of information about HIV and condom use by MSM.METHODS. The survey of 886 MSM was conducted in 2004 and covered the cities of Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Mykolayiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk. In each city, MSM were recruited proportionally to the size of the population of this city.RESULTS. Those most used by MSM recently sources of information about HIV/AIDS were television (58%) and print media (50%). Less common sources of information were reference literature (brochures, posters), Internet, friends/acquaintances, sexual partners, popular-science books, employees of medical institutions and NGOs working with MSM. Such sources of information as radio, parents and relatives, staff/colleagues, teachers and law enforcement institutions played a minor role among the studied group. Logistic regression analysis showed the following sources of information about HIV/AIDS to be significantly associated with condom use: television, print media (newspapers, journals), reference literature (brochures, posters), information from parents/relatives and friends/acquaintances.CONCLUSIONS. Information about HIV/AIDS more often comes to the target group through sources that do not involve direct contact with the target group (television, print media, reference books and Internet), than through those which involve direct contact, e.g. social environment (parents and relatives, colleagues, or sexual partners). The level of awareness is associated with condom use; however; the use of particular sources of information is rather the alternative measure for belonging to certain social groups which are characterized by safer behavior, than causal association between information and behavior can be assumed to be present.
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