Knowledge, Attitudes, Sexual Behaviors and Utilization of Health Services among Filipino Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)

Jansil Marie L. Amit,1 Sarah Jane A. Jimenez,1 Carla Jane Concepcion O. Magno,1
Angelico Rome Y. Andaya1 and Ofelia P. Saniel2

1 Postgraduate Internship Program,
University of the Philippines Manila - Philippine General Hospital
2 College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila

Objectives. The main objective of this study was to describe the knowledge, attitudes, sexual practices and utilization of health services of the MSM population in the Philippines.

Methods. The study design was cross-sectional. Data was collected through an online survey of Filipino MSMs with accounts at any of the three (3) major MSM websites. This was supplemented by focus group discussions and key-informant interviews of informal MSM leaders. Only 682 men satisfied the eligibility criteria and were included in the analysis.

Results. Forty eighty percent (48%) of the respondents had low levels of knowledge on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Majority (54%) engaged in unprotected sex despite having positive attitudes toward condom use. MSMs had multiple sex partnerships to satisfy their "high libido" and get "sexual gratification." Only 17% had submitted themselves for HIV testing and knew their results.

Conclusions. MSMs remain at high risk for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's). There is a wide gap between knowledge and actual sexual practices, and their health-seeking behavior remains poor. Thus, there is a need for programs that are tailored to the needs, cultural diversities and unique practices of the MSM community.

Key Words: MSM, HIV, STI, knowledge, attitudes, practices