Age and regional characteristics of sexually transmitted infections in high-risk MSM group

Shalva Kevlishvili, Oleg Kvlividze, David Tananashvili, George Galdava


Aim: The objectives of this study were the determination of the age and regional features of STIs among men who have sex with men (MSM)  in Georgia.

Methods: The cross-sectional research was performed in the 5 main urban and regional settlements of Georgia (Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Telavi) in 2015-2019. The individuals involved in the study underwent blood test, rectal and urethral smear screening and were tested for syphilis, gonorrhea, and/or chlamydia. In 2015, 1213 MSM persons participated in the study, in 2016 - 1634, in 2017 - 1695, in 2018 - 1764, and in 2019 - 1698. Age-standardized Rates (ASR) with 95% Confidence Intervals (95%CI) were calculated for each STIs. To evaluate age- and region-specific incidence of STIs Standardized Rate Ratio (SRR) and their 95%CI were calculated for each STIs.

Results. ASR for Syphilis in MSM group of Georgia was 20.9 per 100 000 (95%CI – 20.0-21.8); ASR for Gonorhea was - 16.1 per 100 000 (95%CI – 15.3-16.9); ASR for Gonorhea was - 17.8 per 100 000 (95%CI – 16.9-18.7); ASR for Trichomoniasis was - 8.1 per 100 000 (95%CI – 7.5-\8.7). During this analysis, determination of SRR showed that the incidence of syphilis in Tbilisi was 6.2 times (95%CI 4.5-8.4) higher than the incidence in other settlements; gonorrhea - 3.9 times (95%CI 2.6-5.8); Chlamydia - 5.0 times (95%CI 3.6-7.1). In contrast, the incidence of trichomoniasis in Tbilisi is 7.7 times (95%CI 1.2-50.2) less than the incidence rate established in other settlements.

Conclusions. Very high age-standardized rates for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydiosis were observed in the MSM group in Georgia. In Tbilisi, these indicators are even higher for this STIs. One of the reasons may be the low level of awareness about STIs and the unavailability of screening programs. In addition to medical problems, social factors play a special role, especially the stigma in society associated with this group.


Sexually transmitted diseases; MSM; Syphilis; Gonorrhea; Chlamydiosis;

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