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U.S. News

Gay Men Support Couples-Based HIV Tests

March 29, 2011

A team led by Emory University researchers says couples-based voluntary HIV counseling and testing (CVCT) could provide prevention-related opportunities for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Dr. Rob Stephenson, of Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, and colleagues noted that HIV testing among heterosexual couples in Africa has helped bring about changes that reduce HIV transmission. But in the United States, "Services remain individually focused," they observed.

"Given that main sex partners may contribute significantly to the acquisition of HIV among MSM and that MSM couples as a demographic in the U.S. are increasing, preventive efforts that target MSM dyads may be an effective strategy in reducing HIV incidence," the team explained.

They examined attitudes toward couples-based testing among gay men in committed relationships in Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle. Four focus groups totaling 39 men ages 19-53 were surveyed. Fifty-four percent of participants were black; 46 percent were white; and 51 percent reported sex partners outside the relationship.

"Although initially hesitant, participants reported an overwhelming acceptance of CVCT," the researchers reported. "CVCT provides an opportunity for MSM to talk about sex, and to make plans for safer sexual behavior as a couple in the presence of a counselor."

"The initial results presented here are encouraging. CVCT is an acceptable format for HIV counseling and testing among MSM in this study, and if it is adapted and promoted well, could fill a significant gap in couples-based services for U.S. MSM," concluded the team.

The study, "Attitudes Towards Couples-Based HIV Testing Among MSM in Three U.S. Cities," was published in AIDS and Behavior (2011;15:S80-S87).

Back to other news for March 2011

Adapted from:
Project Q Atlanta
03.25.2011; Matt Hennie

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS and Young Men Who Have Sex With Men
More on HIV Prevention Research in Gay Men

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