Gay men's HIV testing behaviour in Scotland

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Tuesday 1st October 2002

This paper reports on the social and demographic factors associated with HIV testing in gay men in Scotland.

This paper reports on the social and demographic factors associated with HIV testing in gay men in Scotland. Trained sessional research staff administered a short self-complete questionnaire to men in gay bars during January and February 1999 in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland. Questionnaires were completed by 2,498 men (response rate of 77.5%). Half (1,190; 50%) reported ever having been HIV antibody tested, with men in Edinburgh more likely to report testing. Testing was associated with being older (26 years plus), higher education, reporting one unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) partner, or six or more UAI partners, in the last year, genitourinary medicine clinic service use, and lifetime experience of sexually transmitted infections. There was no relationship between HIV testing and treatment optimism, or evidence of a 'post-Vancouver' effect. Over a fifth of men who said that they knew their own HIV status at last UAI had never been tested. Current testing policy needs to be challenged if there is to be an increase in the number of gay men who know their HIV status and, if tested HIV-positive, to then access antiretroviral treatments.

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