Consent for HIV Testing Among Adolescent Sexual Minority Males: Legal Status, Youth Perceptions, and Associations with Actual Testing and Sexual Risk Behavior

  • Kimberly M. NelsonEmail author
  • Kristen Underhill
  • Michael P. Carey
Original Paper


This brief report presents a preliminary investigation of the relations between minor consent laws for HIV testing/treatment and testing behavior among adolescent sexual minority males (ASMM; N = 127; ages 14–17). Most participants had legal capacity to consent without parental/guardian permission (HIV testing: 79%; HIV testing/treatment: 65%). Despite having this legal right, few (15%) had ever tested. Capacity to consent was not associated with HIV testing in this sample; nevertheless, those who had not disclosed their sexual activity to parents/guardians were less likely to have tested. Confidentiality concerns may be a barrier to testing for these youth despite laws intended to enable independent testing.


Adolescent Sexual minority HIV Minor consent laws MSM 



We would like to thank the participants and our research assistant, Jaime Ramirez. This work and K. Nelson are supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (K23 MH109346). The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (K23 MH109346).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centers for Behavioral and Preventative MedicineThe Miriam HospitalProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of Behavioral and Social SciencesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Law SchoolColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Centers for Behavioral and Preventative MedicineThe Miriam HospitalProvidenceUSA

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