Background Among those at high risk for HIV, it is important to examine the ways in which someone who has recently tested for HIV might differ from someone who has not.
Methods In 2017–2018, a total of 5001 men, trans women and trans men who have sex with men from across the United States completed an online survey about their recent testing behaviour as well as self-collected oral samples for HIV testing.
Results In total, 3.8% tested HIV-positive and—among those with positive results—35% were recent HIV infections (ie, self-reported an HIV-negative test result within the 12 months prior to enrollment). Those with HIV-positive results—regardless of how recent their HIV test was prior to enrollment—differed from those with negative results in ways that are known to be associated with HIV risk: racial and income disparities, housing instability, recent transactional sex and recent methamphetamine use. Among those with HIV-positive results at enrollment, only having a primary care physician distinguished those who recently tested negative prior to enrollment versus not. Among those with HIV-negative results, there were numerous differences between those who had recently tested for HIV prior to enrollment, versus not, such that those who had not recently tested were significantly more likely to report being at higher risk for HIV.
Conclusion Strategies aimed at improving more frequent HIV testing among HIV-negative persons at high risk for HIV should address other needs including stable housing, transactional sex, access to a primary care provider and methamphetamine use.
- PUBLIC HEALTH
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Contributors CG was the principal investigator of the study. CG conceptualised the study and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. DW performed analyses for the manuscript, contributed to writing and interpretation of the results. DN and SAG are co-investigators on the study. They contributed to the study design, analytic plan and writing of the manuscript.
Funding Together 5000 was funded by the National Institutes for Health (UG3 AI 133675—PI Grov). Other forms of support include the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health, the Einstein, Rockefeller, CUNY Center for AIDS Research (ERC CFAR, P30 AI124414).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Data sharing statement Data are available upon reasonable request.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.