HIV testing behavior among young migrant men who have sex with men (MSM) in Beijing, China

Published: July 20, 2010

HIV testing behavior among young migrant men who have sex with men (MSM) in Beijing, China

L. Zhang1, X. Li1, X. Fang2, B. Stanton1, X. Lin2, Y. Hong3, S. Li4, Y. Liu4

1Wayne State University School of Medicine, Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics Prevention Research Center, Detroit, United States, 2Beijing Normal University, Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing, China, 3School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Department of Social and Behavioral Health, College Station, United States, 4Changyang District Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China

Background: Previous studies suggested a rapid increase of HIV prevalence among MSM in China in recent years, from 0.4% in 2004 to 5.8 in 2008. However, some MSM had never been tested for HIV. In order to expand the accessibility to HIV testing, understanding HIV testing behavior and barriers among MSM is important. Using data collected from 307 young migrant MSM (aged 18-29 years) in 2008 in Beijing we aimed to identify psychological and structural barriers to HIV testing.

Methods: MSM were recruited through peer outreach, informal MSM network, internet outreach and venue-based outreach. The inclusion criteria included: (1) having sex with men in the past month, (2) 18-29 years of age, (3) temporary migrants in Beijing, and (4) willing to provide blood specimens for HIV/STDs testing. Participants completed the confidential self-administered questionnaires.

Results: Results show that about 72% of MSM had ever had HIV testing. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the HIV testing behavior was associated with sexual risk behaviors (e.g., multiple sexual partners, inconsistent condom use during anal sex) and history of STDs. Eighty four MSM (28%) who had never had HIV testing reported that the psychological barriers mainly were perceived low risk HIV infection and fears of being stigmatized. The structural barriers reported mainly were inconvenience of doing test and lack of confidentiality.

Conclusions: HIV testing behavior was associated with sexual risk behaviors and history of STDs. Future HIV prevention programs should be strengthened among MSM to increase their awareness of risk for HIV. Efforts are needed for increasing access to HIV testing among MSM and reducing stigma against MSM.

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