Men who have sex with men (MSM) and who are unaware of their HIV infection contribute to onward HIV transmission and are more likely to progress to severe illness. We therefore assessed determinants of never testing for HIV among MSM living in the Netherlands. Between April and July 2019, 950 HIV-negative and 122 never-tested MSM completed a cross-sectional survey on sociodemographics, HIV testing behavior, and sexual risk taking, which was distributed through gay networking sites/apps. In never-tested MSM, median age was 37 (interquartile range = 22-51) years and 37 (30%) reported recent sexual risk behavior. Never testing was associated with younger age [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) per year increase = 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.97-1.00, p = 0.015], having sex with men and women (aOR = 2.85, 95% CI = 1.57-5.62, p = 0.001), and not knowing others living with HIV (aOR = 3.85, 95% CI = 2.35-6.32, p < 0.001) in multi-variable logistic regression analysis. A significant interaction effect between education level and residential area was observed (p = 0.001). Among higher-educated MSM, those living outside a large urban area had higher odds of never testing compared to those living in an urban area (aOR = 6.26, 95% CI = 2.42-16.24, p < 0.001). Lower-educated MSM had higher odds of never testing irrespective of residential area (large urban area: aOR = 12.06, 95% CI = 4.00-36.38; outside large urban area: aOR 9.29, 95% CI = 3.64-23.76; p < 0.001 for both). Among MSM recently exposed to sexual risk, never testing was associated with having sex with men and women (aOR = 2.80, 95% CI = 1.09-7.18, p = 0.032) and not knowing others with HIV (aOR = 4.91, 95% CI = 1.97-12.24, p = 0.001). To conclude, testing interventions for those never tested should be tailored to residential area and education level, and inclusive of bisexuality.
Keywords: Amsterdam; HIV; men who have sex with men; sexual risk behavior; the Netherlands.