Factors associated with HIV testing behavior and intention among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Japan

Published: October 1, 2013

 Abstract

 
Objectives This study aimed to explore the factors associated with HIV testing behavior and intention among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Japan.Methods A self-administered survey was distributed to gay bar customers in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka, Aichi, Fukuoka, and Okinawa from 2010 to early 2011. A total of 4,572 completed surveys were received by mail. Participants were divided into 3 groups based on HIV testing experience and intention: Group 1 consisted of those who had tested at least once in their lives; Group 2 consisted of those who had never tested but had an intention to test; and Group 3 was made up of those who had never tested and had no intention to test. Associations between groups were assessed using Chi-square goodness-of-fit test and multiple logistic regression.Results Among the 2,809 respondents reporting anal sex within the previous six months, 131 HIV-positive cases were excluded. Data were thus analyzed from 2,678 MSM; 61% (n=1,633) of participants reported having taken an HIV test at least once in their lives, 20.2% (n=541) reported never having tested but with an intention to test, and 18.8% (n=504) reported never having tested and had no intention to test in the future. Knowledge about HIV and testing, STI history, sexuality, academic background, knowing someone with HIV, and condom use in the past six months all correlated with HIV testing experience when compared between groups 1 and 2. Conversations on HIV/AIDS with friends, lifetime STI history, knowing someone with HIV, conversations on HIV/AIDS with a sexual partner, and older age were all correlated with intention of taking an HIV test when compared between groups 2 and 3.Conclusion Among gay bar customers, those who know someone living with HIV and those who had conversations with friends about HIV/AIDS in the previous six months were more likely to take an HIV test compared to those who had never tested but had an intention to test. Thus, although knowledge about HIV and testing is important, knowing someone with HIV and having conversations about HIV/AIDS with friends are also important. Such factors should be considered in promoting the uptake of voluntary HIV testing among MSM. 

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