Across Europe men who have sex with men (MSM) represent one of the key groups affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). At present, MSM account for almost half of all syphilis cases reported in Europe – with some countries reporting almost 80% of all cases in this group. On-going outbreaks and rising trends among MSM suggest the need for reinforced prevention initiatives.

ResultsinHealth in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) of the Netherlands and the former Schorer conducted a literature review on HIV and STI prevention interventions targeted at MSM. The work was contracted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The report of this joint research, STI and HIV prevention in men who have sex with men in Europe was published on 21 February 2013.

The report identifies many of the needs and challenges with respect to STI and HIV prevention among MSM. Despite the increasing STI and HIV trends, many innovative approaches to prevention among MSM exist. Sharing these practices between the EU Member States is essential to effectively tackle STI and HIV in the wider context of the sexual health of men who have sex with men in Europe.

Divided in three parts, the document offers an updated inventory of STI and HIV trends among MSM in Europe from 1995-2010, a literature review of behavioural and psychosocial STI and HIV prevention interventions among MSM and a review of intervention evaluations. The report recognises that combined prevention interventions are a key to control STI and HIV. Moreover, to improve the quality and effectiveness of prevention interventions, the design of any intervention should be based on epidemiological appraisal and behavioural profile of the specific MSM population. Consistent surveillance systems that support interpretation of trends and dissemination of prevention intervention need to be implemented at national and local level.