Increases in HIV testing among gay men in Scotland
posted on: Apr 9, 2009
A paper published online by Sexually Transmitted Infections shows that HIV testing among gay men in Scotland increased between 1996 and 2005, and corresponds with the Scottish Government policy change to routine, opt-out testing in genitourinary medicine clinics.
Data from the MRC Gay Men's Sexual Health Survey, led by Dr Lisa McDaid (nee Williamson), were combined with similar surveys conducted by Professor Paul Flowers at Glasgow Caledonian University to examine trends in HIV testing behaviour of gay men in Scotland over a ten-year period across seven cross-sectional surveys in commercial gay venues in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Among 8305 respondents included in these analyses, HIV testing increased between 1996 and 2005, from 50% to 58%, while the proportion of men who had tested recently (in the calendar year of, or immediately prior to, the survey) increased from 28% in 1996 to 33% in 2005. However, recent testing decreased with age, from 31% in the <25 years age group to 21% in the >44 years age groups. Although testing rates have increased they remain low and compare unfavourably to near universal testing levels elsewhere, and the decline across age groups in recent HIV testing suggest few men test repeatedly or regularly.