Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) are highly vulnerable to HIV infection, but this population can be particularly difficult to reach in Thailand. This study aimed to estimate the number of MSM in Chiang Mai Thailand, in order to plan HIV control and prevention. Methods: The total of 348 potential MSM were identified at eight contact locations, including two public parks, two bars, two massage parlors and two pubs in Chiang Mai. Trained 16 research enumerators and 16 enumerators were trained to extend a recruitment of brooches to MSM. The MSMs were captured one week apart. A record was kept of when, where and by whom the invitation was extended and received, and of refusals. The total estimate of MSM was derived from capture-recapture calculation. Results: The total MSM in Chiang Mai Thailand estimated by capture and recapture method was 733 (95%CI = 480 - 948) or the estimate was 7.3% (95%CI = 7.1% - 14.1%). Conclusions: Capture and recapture method can be used to enumerate and provide accurate and reliable estimates of the MSM population in any area, provided that certain conditions are controlled. MSM who are engaged in personal community represent a sizeable population who urgently need to be targeted by HIV and STDs prevention strategies.
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