Prior HIV Testing Behaviour Is Associated With HIV Testing Results Among Men, Trans Women and Trans Men Who Have Sex With Men in the United States

J Epidemiol Community Health. 2020 May 20;jech-2019-213493. doi: 10.1136/jech-2019-213493. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Among those at high risk for HIV, it is important to examine the ways in which someone who has recently tested for HIV might differ from someone who has not.

Methods: In 2017-2018, a total of 5001 men, trans women and trans men who have sex with men from across the United States completed an online survey about their recent testing behaviour as well as self-collected oral samples for HIV testing.

Results: In total, 3.8% tested HIV-positive and-among those with positive results-35% were recent HIV infections (ie, self-reported an HIV-negative test result within the 12 months prior to enrollment). Those with HIV-positive results-regardless of how recent their HIV test was prior to enrollment-differed from those with negative results in ways that are known to be associated with HIV risk: racial and income disparities, housing instability, recent transactional sex and recent methamphetamine use. Among those with HIV-positive results at enrollment, only having a primary care physician distinguished those who recently tested negative prior to enrollment versus not. Among those with HIV-negative results, there were numerous differences between those who had recently tested for HIV prior to enrollment, versus not, such that those who had not recently tested were significantly more likely to report being at higher risk for HIV.

Conclusion: Strategies aimed at improving more frequent HIV testing among HIV-negative persons at high risk for HIV should address other needs including stable housing, transactional sex, access to a primary care provider and methamphetamine use.

Keywords: AIDS; HIV; PREVENTION; PSYCHOLOGY; PUBLIC HEALTH.