It's like a regular part of gay life: repeat HIV antibody testing among gay and bisexual men

AIDS Educ Prev. 1997 Jun;9(3 Suppl):41-51.


HIV antibody testing is a critical facet of national AIDS prevention strategies and increasing numbers of persons are tested each year. Research has shown that a significant number of men who have sex with men are repeatedly tested for HIV antibodies, and many are tested regularly every 6 months. This study investigated the prevalence of repeat testing (having been tested three or more time) and regular testing (having been tested three or more times and getting tested every 6 months), and their association to testing attitudes and sexual behaviors. We found that 66% of 253 HIV seronegative gay and bisexual men surveyed at a large gay pride festival had been repeatedly tested, and 47% were tested regularly. Repeat testing was associated with knowing people with HIV or AIDS, whereas regular testing was associated with younger age and not being in an exclusive sexual relationship. Both repeat and regular testers held more positive health-related attitudes about testing than nonrepeat and nonregularly tested men, respectively. Contrary to previous research, repeat testing was not associated with unprotected anal intercourse or unprotected oral sex. However, both repeat and regular testing were positively related to condom use during anal intercourse as well as having multiple protected anal intercourse partners. We therefore conclude that both repeat testing and higher rates of condom use reflect positive health attitudes and that repeat testing may function to meet the needs of some men who have sex with men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / psychology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Condoms
  • Georgia
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior