The Prevalence of Undiagnosed HIV Serodiscordance Among Male Couples Presenting for HIV Testing
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In the United States, a substantial proportion of HIV transmissions among men who have sex with men (MSM) arise from main sex partners. Couples voluntary HIV testing and counseling (CHTC) is used in many parts of the world with male–female couples, but CHTC has historically not been available in the U.S. and few data exist about the extent of HIV serodiscordance among U.S. male couples. We tested partners in 95 Atlanta male couples (190 men) for HIV. Eligible men were in a relationship for ≥3 months and were not known to be HIV-positive. We calculated the prevalence of couples that were seroconcordant HIV-negative, seroconcordant HIV-positive, or HIV serodiscordant. We evaluated differences in the prevalence of HIV serodiscordance by several dyadic characteristics (e.g., duration of relationship, sexual agreements, and history of anal intercourse in the relationship). Overall, among 190 men tested for HIV, 11 % (n = 20) were newly identified as HIV-positive. Among the 95 couples, 81 % (n = 77) were concordant HIV-negative, 17 % (n = 16) were HIV serodiscordant, and 2 % (n = 2) were concordant HIV-positive. Serodiscordance was not significantly associated with any evaluated dyadic characteristic. The prevalence of undiagnosed HIV serodiscordance among male couples in Atlanta is high. Offering testing to male couples may attract men with a high HIV seropositivity rate to utilize testing services. Based on the global evidence base for CHTC with heterosexual couples and the current evidence of substantial undiagnosed HIV serodiscordance among U.S. MSM, we recommend scale-up of CHTC services for MSM, with ongoing evaluation of acceptability and couples’ serostatus outcomes.
KeywordsHIV Men who have sex with men HIV testing Male couples Sexual orientation
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health (R34-MH086331), the Emory Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI050409), and the MAC AIDS Fund. The authors acknowledge Adam Carpenter for his expert editorial assistance and support.
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