Open Access Open Badges Research article

A cross-sectional study of HIV and syphilis infections among male students who have sex with men (MSM) in northeast China: implications for implementing HIV screening and intervention programs

Jun-Jie Xu1, Kathleen Heather Reilly23, Chun-Ming Lu4, Ning Ma4, Min Zhang1, Zhen-Xing Chu1, Jun-Jie Wang2, Ke Yun1 and Hong Shang1*

Author Affiliations

1 From Key Laboratory of AIDS Immunology of Ministry of Health, Department of Laboratory Medicine, No.1 Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China

2 National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Beijing, China

3 Tulane University Health Sciences Center, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA

4 Liaoning Provincial CDC, Shenyang, China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2011, 11:287  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-287

Published: 10 May 2011



China has 76.2 million high school and college students, in which the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases is increasing rapidly. Most of these cases are attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. Few studies have explored HIV prevalence and behavioural characteristics of Chinese male students who have sex with men (MSM).


A cross-sectional study of MSM high school and college students in Liaoning Province was conducted. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews and blood specimens were obtained and tested for HIV and syphilis.


There were 436 eligible participants. HIV and syphilis prevalence was 3.0% and 5.0%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, sexual orientation known by family members (OR: 7.3; 95% CI: 1.5-34.6), HIV/AIDS information obtained from clinical doctors (OR: 6.7; 95% CI: 1.7-25.9), HIV/AIDS information obtained through free educational services and materials such as voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) and condom distribution services (OR: 0.2; 95% CI: 0.4-1.0), inconsistent condom use (OR: 5.7; 95%: 1.3-25.3), sexual partner experienced anal bleeding after insertive anal intercourse (OR: 6.8; 95% CI: 1.6-28.4), and history of illegal drug use (OR: 18.9; 95% CI: 2.2-165.3) were found to be significantly associated with HIV infection.


Greater effort should be made towards stemming the HIV and syphilis epidemics among Chinese student MSM. Immediate screening and comprehensive interventions towards student MSM should be implemented in order to curb the spread of HIV. Family and school-based interventions should be considered to target this educated, yet vulnerable, population.

HIV; syphilis; China; men who have sex with men (MSM); high school students; college students