Gay male couples' attitudes toward using couples-based voluntary HIV counseling and testing

Arch Sex Behav. 2014 Jan;43(1):161-71. doi: 10.1007/s10508-013-0211-0.


Many men who have sex with men acquire HIV from their primary male partners while in a relationship. Studies with gay couples have demonstrated that relationship characteristics and testing behaviors are important to examine for HIV prevention. Recently, couples-based voluntary HIV counseling and testing (CVCT) has become available to male couples throughout the U.S. However, HIV-negative couples' attitudes toward using CVCT and how their relationship characteristics may affect their use of CVCT remain largely unknown. This information is particularly relevant for organizations that offer CVCT. To assess couples' attitudes, and associated factors toward using CVCT, a cross-sectional study design was used with a novel Internet-based recruitment method to collect dyadic data from a national sample of 275 HIV-negative gay couples. Multivariate multilevel modeling was used to identify factors associated with differences between and within couples about their attitudes towards using CVCT. Findings revealed that couples were "somewhat" to "very likely" to use CVCT. More positive attitudes toward using CVCT were associated with couples who had higher levels of relationship satisfaction and commitment toward their sexual agreement and among those who had at least one partner having had sex outside of the relationship. Less positive attitude toward using CVCT was associated with couples who had higher levels of trust toward their partners being dependable. Differences within couples, including age between partners, whether sex had occurred outside of the relationship, and value toward a sexual agreement also affected their attitudes toward using CVCT. Providing additional testing methods may help HIV-negative gay couples better manage their HIV risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis*
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Partners / psychology
  • Trust
  • Voluntary Programs*
  • Young Adult