HIV incidence and predictors of incident HIV among men who have sex with men attending a sexual health clinic in Melbourne, Australia

King T. Cheung, Christopher K. Fairley, Tim R. H. Read, Ian Denham, Glenda Fehler, Catriona S. Bradshaw, Marcus Y. Chen, Eric P. F. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors for HIV infection and the incidence in men who have sex with men (MSM). It is important to identify subgroups of MSM in which preventive interventions such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) offered at the time of their last negative test would be considered cost-effective. 

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of MSM attending Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) during 2007-2013 with at least two HIV tests within 12 months of each other. Demographic characteristics, sexual and other behaviours, and bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses were extracted from the date of the last negative HIV test. HIV incidence rate (IR) per 100 person-years for each risk factor was calculated. 

Results: Of the 13907 MSM who attended MSHC, 5256 MSM had at least two HIV tests and were eligible, contributing 6391 person-years follow-up. 81 new HIV diagnoses were identified within 12 months of an HIV negative test with an incidence of 1.3 (95% CI: 1.0-1.6) per 100 person-years. Significant associations with subsequent HIV infection were: rectal gonorrhea (HIV IR: 3.4 95% CI: 2.1-5.2), rectal chlamydia (HIV IR: 2.6 95% CI: 1.7-3.7), inconsistent condom use (HIV IR: 2.1 95% CI: 1.6-2.7), use of post-exposure prophylaxis (HIV IR: 2.3 95% CI: 1.7-3.1), and injecting drug use (HIV IR: 8.5 95% CI: 3.4-17.5). 

Conclusion: The incidence of HIV was above 2.0% in subgroups of MSM with specific characteristics at the last HIV negative test. PrEP is considered cost effective at this incidence and could potentially be used along with other preventive interventions for these individuals in more than half of the population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0156160
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

Cite this