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Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
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HIV Testing Among Men Who Have Sex With Men: How Often Should One Test?

Roark, Randall A. JD, MPH; Webster, Robert D. MPH; Darrow, William W. PhD; Stempel, Robert R. DrPH†

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Abstract

HIV counseling and testing has been a cornerstone of AIDS prevention strategies, with men who have sex with men being specifically targeted for the counseling and testing. Unfortunately, it appears that exposure to HIV counseling and testing has little effect on the behaviors of those who test negative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently altered its recommendations on when and how often men who have sex with men should undergo testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, now recommending annual testing for sexually active men who have sex with men, with even more frequent testing for men who have sex with men who engage in highest risk behaviors. Using data from our study, we evaluated the new recommendations with respect to HIV testing. Overall, 81% of the men who have sex with men in our sample reported never having tested positive for HIV. Among these men who have sex with men in South Beach nearly 8% tested positive on their current test. Slightly more than half of the men who tested positive on their current test had not been tested in the past 12 months; slightly fewer than half reported they had tested negative within the prior 9 months. Reporting multiple (4 or more) anal sexual partners during the past 12 months was significantly associated with a positive test result. Our results support the new CDC guidelines regarding more frequent testing for sexually active men who have sex with men, with having a high number of anal partners being a significant indicator of need for testing more often than annually in our population.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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