The HIV test and sexual behaviour in a sample of homosexually active men.
Dawson J., Fitzpatrick R., McLean J., Hart G., Boulton M.
This paper aims to assess the effects of voluntary anti-HIV testing on homosexual sexual behaviour. A sample of 502 men were recruited from four different areas of England. The criterion for inclusion was 'any man who had had sex with another man in the previous 5 years'. Men were interviewed about their recent sexual behaviour, histories of sexually transmitted diseases, experience of HIV tests and attitudes to the test. Men with a history of sexually transmitted diseases were more likely to have had the test. Thirty-one percent of men reported passive anal sex in the last month and 19% had had unprotected passive anal sex. These behaviours were most often reported by those testing HIV antibody positive and least by those never tested. The findings suggest that homosexually active men who volunteer for an anti-HIV test are broadly similar to those who do not. The absence of any clear effects of the test alone on sexual behaviour suggests that the quality of counselling in this area needs urgent attention.