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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Trends in HIV testing among homosexual and bisexual men in eastern Australian states

Garrett Prestage A C D , Fengyi Jin A , Iryna B. Zablotska B , John Imrie B , Andrew E. Grulich A and Marian Pitts C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

C Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, La Trobe University, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: gprestage@nchecr.unsw.edu.au

Sexual Health 5(2) 119-123 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH07081
Submitted: 18 October 2007  Accepted: 24 January 2008   Published: 2 June 2008

Abstract

Objectives: We examined whether trends in HIV testing in community-based samples of homosexual men may account for the convergence in HIV notification rates in homosexual men across the eastern states of Australia. Methods: We examined data on self-reported HIV testing from annual cross-sectional, self-completed anonymous surveys of homosexual men conducted between 1998 and 2006 in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Men were recruited at gay community venues and events. Comparisons of HIV testing between the three cities and across time were carried out. We also compared reported rates of HIV testing across states in Private Lives, the 2005 online survey of health and wellbeing among non-heterosexual people. Results: Men recruited from clinics had a much higher prevalence of HIV testing and were excluded from further analyses. Among the 48 263 completed questionnaires obtained in non-clinic sites, there was a marked decline in the proportion of men who had never been tested for HIV in Sydney (from 8.1 to 5.1%, P trend < 0.001) and Brisbane (from 11.8 to 7.9%, P trend = 0.002) but no change in Melbourne. This proportion of men who had never been tested was lower in Sydney than in either Melbourne or Brisbane (P < 0.001). There were increases in the proportion of non-HIV-positive men who had been tested for HIV in the previous year across all three cities, although the proportion in Melbourne was lower than in the other two cities. Conclusion: These data suggest that changes in HIV testing rates among homosexual men are insufficient to account for the recent differences in trends in HIV notifications in eastern Australia.

Additional keyword: gay men.


Acknowledgements

The National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, the National Centre in HIV Social Research and the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society receive funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. The GCPS is funded by the respective Health Departments in each state and territory. The respective state-based AIDS Councils and people living with HIV/AIDS organisations are collaborators in each state’s GCPS.


References


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