Social vulnerability and HIV testing among South African men who have sex with men.

Published: December 1, 2011

Abstract

This study examined whether social vulnerability is associated with HIV testing among South African men who have sex with men (MSM). A community-based survey was conducted with 300 MSM in Pretoria in 2008. The sample was stratified by age, race and residential status. Social vulnerability was assessed using measures of demographic characteristics, psychosocial determinants and indicators of sexual minority stress. Being black, living in a township and lacking HIV knowledge reduced MSM’s likelihood of ever having tested for HIV. Among those who had tested, lower income and not self-identifying as gay reduced men’s likelihood of having tested more than once. Lower income and internalized homophobia reduced men’s likelihood of having tested recently. Overall, MSM in socially vulnerable positions were less likely to get tested for HIV. Efforts to mitigate the effects of social vulnerability on HIV testing practices are needed in order to encourage regular HIV testing among South African MSM.

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