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We report on homosexual men's uptake of voluntary HIV testing. A sample of 677 men was recruited from four different areas of England, which included 30% obtained via clinics. The criterion for inclusion was 'any man who had had sex with another man in the previous 5 years'. Men were interviewed about their sexual behaviour, history of sexually transmitted diseases, reasons for seeking or not seeking an HIV test, experience of HIV tests and attitudes to the test. They were also asked to provide a sample of their saliva for anonymous screening for antibodies to HIV-1. The majority of men (63%) reported serological testing. Those who reported a history of sexually transmitted diseases, higher numbers of unprotected penetrative partners or unprotected anal sex in the last 5 years were significantly more likely to have had a test. Attitudes towards voluntary testing were largely favourable with 64% citing the availability of early treatment for HIV infection as a good reason for being tested. The findings suggest that those most at risk of infection are also those most likely to seek a test and that national voluntary testing data for homosexual men therefore overestimate HIV prevalence for homosexually active men as a whole. © 1993 European Journal of Public Health.

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Public Health

Publication Date





264 - 268