Background: HIV testing is the gateway for prevention and care. We explored factors associated with HIV testing among Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM).
Methods: In Chongqing City, we recruited 492 MSM in 2010 using respondent-driven sampling in a cross-sectional study. Computer-assisted self-interviews were conducted to collect information on history of HIV testing.
Results: Only 58% of participants reported ever having taken an HIV test. Men who have sex with men who had a college degree (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–2.6; P = 0.008) were more likely to take a test; those who preferred a receptive role in anal sex were less likely to do so than those with insertive sex preference (AOR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.35–0.94; P = 0.03); and those who used condoms with the recent male partner during the past 6 months were more likely to get tested (AOR, 2.87; 95% CI, 1.25–6.62; P = 0.01). Principal perceived barriers to testing included the following: fear of knowing a positive result, fear of discrimination if tested positive, low perceived risk of HIV infection, and not knowing where to take a test. Factors reported to facilitate testing were sympathetic attitudes from health staff and guaranteed confidentiality. Prevalence was high: 11.7% HIV positive and 4.7% syphilis positive.
Conclusions: The HIV testing rate among MSM in Chongqing is still low, although MSM prevalence is high compared with other Chinese cities. Men who have sex with men preferring receptive anal sex are less likely to get testing and perceive having lower HIV risk. Along with expanded education and social marketing, a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment for HIV testing is needed.