Study: Most Gay Male Teens Not Getting Tested for HIV

Young men who have sex with men have the highest risk for HIV infection, but only one in five has ever been tested for HIV, a much lower rate than testing for non-adolescents, reports a new national Northwestern Medicine study conducted in partnership with the Center for Innovative Public Health Research.

The greatest barriers to these teenage males getting tested are not knowing where to go to get an HIV test, worries about being recognized at a testing site and, to a lesser degree, thinking they are invincible and won’t get infected, researchers announced in a press release. The study was scheduled for publication this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Between June and November 2014, the study enrolled a national sample of 302 gay, bisexual and queer males ages 14-18 into a text messaging-based HIV prevention program (Guy2Guy). Questions about their HIV-testing behaviors were included in the study. The researchers found only 20 percent of the teenage boys had ever been tested for HIV, a rate that is much lower than what other studies have found with adult gay and bisexual men. A 2008 national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored study of men who have sex with men found 75 percent of men ages 18 to 19 reported they had been tested for HIV, for example.

The findings suggest testing can be increased by providing young men with an easy way to find nearby testing sites via text messaging or online programs and by opening testing sites in high schools.

– See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/08/28/study-most-gay-male-teens-not-getting-tested-for-hiv/#sthash.M5oXoe4F.dpuf