Objectives: To describe time trends and other predictors of recent HIV testing among homosexual men enrolled in behavioural surveillance studies in Australia.
Methods: Repeated cross-sectional studies during the period 1996-2001 in Australian capital cities. Men were recruited from a variety of community-based settings, including gay community outdoor events, sex on premises venues, and social venues. They underwent a brief self-administered questionnaire in which they reported their HIV status, HIV-testing history, sexual behaviour and demographic information.
Results: Questionnaires were returned for 22,161 HIV-negative or status-unknown participants. While 85.3% had ever tested for HIV, 57.6% had tested in the last 12 months. Recent testing was greater in those living in Sydney, in younger men, in gay-identified men, in gay community-attached men, in those who reported unprotected anal intercourse and a higher number of sexual partners, and in partners of HIV-positive men. Although recent testing declined from 1996 to 2001, this trend was no longer significant when adjusted for other testing predictors.
Conclusions: In Australia, HIV testing among gay men decreased slightly from 1996 to 2001, but the trend was not significant when adjusted for other predictors. Testing levels were highest among those at highest risk of HIV infection, and lowest among non gay-identified and non gay-community attached homosexual men.