Background: The approach of treatment as prevention for reducing HIV incidence and prevalence hinges on early detection of HIV infection and treatment to achieve viral suppression and, thus, to reduce HIV transmissibility. However, men who have sex with men (MSM), who are at greater risk of HIV infection than the average adult in the United States, are often not tested because many providers do not provide routine opt-out testing or even recommend HIV testing.
Methods: In a sample of 244 MSM in San Francisco, CA, this study examined whether (1) sociodemographic characteristics (ie, youth, education, employment status, being African American, being Latino), (2) health care access and utilization, and (3) participants disclosing their sexual orientation to their health care providers were associated with their odds of having received a recommendation from a health care provider for HIV testing.
Results: Results showed that none of the sociodemographic or health care-related factors were associated with whether a health care provider recommended HIV testing, but MSM disclosing their sexual orientation to their health care providers was associated with an over 8 times greater odds of MSM receiving a recommendation for HIV testing.
Conclusion: The study findings underscore the need for routine opt-out HIV testing to screen members of high-risk populations who may not enter the HIV continuum of care and for health care providers to be able to ask patients about HIV risk behavior and sexual orientation and behavior.