Low Rates of HIV Testing in Gay and Bisexual Youth
(HealthDay News) — Gay and bisexual adolescent boys are much less likely to get tested for HIV than their older counterparts, researchers report. The study was published online August 26 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The researchers surveyed 302 gay and bisexual male teens between the ages of 14–18 from across the United States. Only one in five had ever been tested for HIV, a rate significantly lower than among older gay and bisexual men, the researchers noted. For example, a 2008 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored study of gay men found that 75% of those aged 18–19 had been tested for HIV.
Major barriers to gay teens getting tested for HIV are not knowing where to go for a test, concerns about being recognized at a testing location, and believing they won't get infected, the researchers said.
"Understanding the barriers to testing provides critical information for intervening, so we can help young men get tested," first author Gregory Phillips II, PhD, a research assistant professor of medical social sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, said in a university news release. Phillips is also an investigator in the school's IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program.