Reasons for Not HIV Testing, Testing Intentions, and Potential Use of an Over-the-Counter Rapid HIV Test in an Internet Sample of Men Who Have Sex With Men Who Have Never Tested for HIV

Published: December 22, 2010


BACKGROUND: Correlates of main reasons for not HIV testing, HIV testing intentions, and potential use of an over-the-counter rapid HIV test (OTCRT) among men who have sex with men who have never tested for HIV (NTMSM) are unknown.

METHODS: We evaluated these correlates among 946 NTMSM from 6 US cities who participated in an internet-based survey in 2007.

FINDINGS: Main reasons for not testing were low perceived risk (32.2%), structural barriers (25.1%), and fear of testing positive (18.1%). Low perceived risk was associated with having fewer unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) partners and less frequent use of the internet for HIV information; structural barriers were associated with younger age and more UAI partners; fear of testing positive was associated with black and Hispanic race/ethnicity, more UAI partners, and more frequent use of the internet for HIV information. Strong testing intentions were held by 25.9% of all NTMSM and 14.8% of those who did not test because of low perceived risk. Among NTMSM who were somewhat unlikely, somewhat likely, and very likely to test for HIV, 47.4%, 76.5%, and 85.6% would likely use an OTCRT if it was available, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Among NTMSM who use the internet, main reasons for not testing for HIV vary considerably by age, race/ethnicity, UAI, and use of the internet for HIV information. To facilitate HIV testing of NTMSM, programs should expand interventions and services tailored to address this variation. If approved, OTCRT might be used by many NTMSM who might not otherwise test for HIV.

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