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Determinants of never having tested for HIV among MSM in the Netherlands

BMJ Open. 2016, 12;6(1):e009480 (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009480).

Authors: den Daas C, Doppen M, Schmidt AJ, Op de Coul E

Abstract

Objectives: Men who have sex with men (MSM) who are unaware of their HIV infection are more likely to infect others, and unable to receive treatment. Therefore, we aimed to identify the proportion and characteristics of Dutch MSM who never tested for HIV.

Methods: In 2010, the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) recruited 174,209 men from 38 countries through an anonymous online questionnaire in 25 languages. We analysed data from participants living in the Netherlands (N=3787). The outcome we investigated was having never (lifetime) been tested for HIV.

Results: A total of 770 MSM (20.4%) had never been tested for HIV. In multivariate regression analyses, not being from Amsterdam (adjusted OR, aOR 1.54, CI 1.17 to 2.03), with low education (aOR 1.28, CI 1.04 to 1.57) and low knowledge on HIV-testing (aOR 2.23, CI 1.37 to 3.64) were significantly associated with never having tested. Lower sexual risk (including having fewer sexual partners (aOR 2.19, CI 1.57 to 3.04) and no anal intercourse (aOR 5.99, CI 3.04 to 11.77)), and less social engagement (including being less out (aOR 1.93, CI 1.55 to 2.40)) were also associated with having never been tested. Additionally, 36.1% of MSM who never tested for HIV reported high-risk sexual behaviour that may have put them at HIV risk.

Conclusions: MSM make their own risk assessments that inform their choices about HIV-testing. Nevertheless, MSM who were never tested may have been at risk for HIV, and remain important to target for HIV interventions.

Keywords

Epidemiology, Public Health

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