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HIV and syphilis co-infection increasing among men who have sex with men in China: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Chow EP, Wilson DP, Zhang L

  • Journal PloS one

  • Published 15 Aug 2011

  • Volume 6

  • ISSUE 8

  • Pagination e22768

  • DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0022768


This study aims to estimate the magnitude and changing trends of HIV, syphilis and HIV-syphilis co-infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China during 2003-2008 through a systematic review of published literature.

Chinese and English literatures were searched for studies reporting HIV and syphilis prevalence among MSM from 2003 to 2008. The prevalence estimates were summarized and analysed by meta-analyses. Meta-regression was used to identify the potential factors that are associated with high heterogeneities in meta-analysis. Seventy-one eligible articles were selected in this review (17 in English and 54 in Chinese). Nationally, HIV prevalence among MSM increased from 1.3% during 2003-2004 to 2.4% during 2005-2006 and to 4.7% during 2007-2008. Syphilis prevalence increased from 6.8% during 2003-2004 to 10.4% during 2005-2006 and to 13.5% during 2007-2008. HIV-syphilis co-infection increased from 1.4% during 2005-2006 to 2.7% during 2007-2008. Study locations and study period are the two major contributors of heterogeneities of both HIV and syphilis prevalence among Chinese MSM.

There have been significant increases in HIV and syphilis prevalence among MSM in China. Scale-up of HIV and syphilis screening and implementation of effective public health intervention programs should target MSM to prevent further spread of HIV and syphilis infection.