Earlier HIV diagnosis allows for improved treatment outcomes and secondary prevention. It is recommended that all individuals know their HIV status and that those at higher risk test more frequently. Using a representative community sample of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), we aimed to: (1) determine the proportion of GBMSM who have tested in the past 2 years, (2) determine reasons for testing and never having tested, and (3) explore correlates of testing. Of 535 eligible participants, 80.0% reported having had an HIV test in the past 2 years, most commonly as part of a regular testing schedule. The most common reason for not testing was low perceived HIV risk. Bisexual and older GBMSM, as well as those who lived outside of Vancouver, were less likely to have tested in the past 2 years. Rapid point-of-care testing may help improve testing rates and was shown to effectively engage some hard-to-reach GBMSM (e.g., those who had not tested for other STIs) in this sample.
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The authors would like to thank the Momentum Health Study participants, office staff, and community advisory board, as well as our community partner agencies, Health Initiative for Men, YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society, and Positive Living Society of BC.
This study is funded through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA031055-01A1) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (MOP-107544, 143342, PJT-153139). HLA is supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Grant # MFE-152443). NJL was supported by a CANFAR/CTN Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. DMM and NJL are supported by Scholar Awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (#5209, #16863).
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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. All study procedures received ethical approval from the research ethics boards of the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Armstrong, H.L., Wang, L., Zhu, J. et al. HIV Testing Among a Representative Community Sample of Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men in Vancouver, Canada. AIDS Behav 23, 347–358 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-018-2259-2