A comparative, retrospective analysis of HIV testing among gay, bisexual and other MSM in Melbourne

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
First published: 29 May 2019
https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12903

Abstract

Objective: PRONTO!, a peer‐led rapid HIV‐testing service in Melbourne, Australia, opened to improve HIV testing among gay and bisexual men (GBM). We compared client characteristics and return testing among GBM testing at PRONTO! with GBM testing at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC).

Methods: All GBM attending PRONTO! and MSHC for HIV testing between August 2013 and April 2016 were included. We describe the number of tests, percentage of clients who returned during follow‐up, the mean number of tests and median time between tests at the two services.

Results: At PRONTO!, 33% of 3,102 GBM and at MSHC 50% of 9,836 GBM returned for a further HIV test at least once. The mean number of tests per client was 1.7 and 2.5 at PRONTO! and MSHC (p<0.01), respectively. A majority of clients at both services reported behaviours that would recommend up to quarterly testing, however, the median time between tests was 20.0 and 17.0 weeks at PRONTO! and MSHC (p<0.01), respectively.

Conclusions: A greater proportion of clients returned and returned frequently at MSHC compared to PRONTO!, however, at both services HIV testing frequency was suboptimal.

Implications for public health: Novel HIV testing services should provide convenient and comprehensive sexual health services.

Rapid HIV testing increases testing frequency among gay and bisexual men: a controlled before–after study

Sexual Health – https://doi.org/10.1071/SH18161

Keen Phillip, Jamil Muhammad, Callander Denton, Conway Damian P., McNulty Anna, Davies Stephen C., Couldwell Deborah C., Smith Don E., Holt Martin, Vaccher Stefanie J., Gray James, Cunningham Philip, Prestage Garrett, Guy Rebecca, (2019)

Published online: 4 April 2019

Abstract:

BackgroundRapid HIV testing was introduced at 12 clinics in New South Wales (NSW) for routine testing and promoted with social marketing. The effect of the availability of rapid HIV testing on testing frequency among gay and bisexual men (GBM) was evaluated.

Methods: An observational design using patient data from 12 clinics was used. The primary outcome was the mean number of HIV tests in 12 months. The intervention group comprised GBM who had one or more rapid tests from October 2013 to September 2014 and this was compared with two control groups; a concurrent group (no rapid test in the same period) and a historical group (attended between July 2011 and June 2012). Independent sample t-tests were conducted to compare mean number of tests among men in the intervention, concurrent and historical groups. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association between rapid HIV testing and testing frequency.

Results: Men in the intervention group (n = 3934) had a mean of 1.8 HIV tests in 12 months, compared with 1.4 in the concurrent group (n = 5063; P < 0.001) and 1.4 in the historical group (n = 5904; P < 0.001); testing frequency was higher among men at increased risk of HIV in the intervention group compared with the other two groups (mean 2.2, 1.6 and 1.5 respectively; P < 0.001). Membership of the intervention group was associated with increased odds of having two or more HIV tests in 12 months (AOR = 2.5, 95%CI 2.2–2.8; P < 0.001) compared with the concurrent group, after controlling for demographic and behavioural factors.

Conclusion: Introducing and promoting rapid HIV testing in clinics in NSW was associated with increased HIV testing frequency among GBM.

 

Giving gay men self-test kits increases HIV testing by 50% – but STI tests decrease

aidsmap/nam, 21 August 2018

Gay men who were offered HIV home-testing kits took 50% more tests than men who only took HIV tests at clinics or community organisations, a randomised controlled study from Seattle in the USA has found.

The men who could self-test took fewer tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), though it is not completely clear whether this was because they went less often for STI checkups or had fewer STI symptoms.

 

Sex Education Based on Abstinence? There’s a Real Absence of Evidence

New York Times, August 22, 2017

Religious conservatives worry that teaching teenagers about birth control will encourage premarital sex. Liberals argue that failing to teach about it ensures more unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

So it was a welcome development when, a few years ago, Congress began to shift funding for sex education to focus on evidence-based outcomes, letting effectiveness determine which programs would get money. But a recent move by the Trump administration seems set to undo this progress.

Sex education focused on an abstinence-only approach fails in a number of ways.

 

Young Australians’ use of pornography and associations with sexual risk behaviours

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2017, 41: 438–443. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12678

Abstract

Objectives: Amid public health concern that rising pornography use may have a negative impact on young people’s health and wellbeing, we report prevalence of pornography viewing and explore factors associated with viewing frequency and age at first viewing.

Methods: Cross-sectional online survey in a convenience sample of Victorians aged 15 to 29 years recruited via social media.

Results: Ever viewing pornography was reported by 815 of 941 (87%) participants. The median age at first pornography viewing was 13 years for men and 16 years for women. More frequent pornography viewing was associated with male gender, younger age, higher education, non-heterosexual identity, ever having anal intercourse and recent mental health problems. Younger age at first pornography viewing was associated with male gender, younger current age, higher education, non-heterosexual identity, younger age at first sexual contact and recent mental health problems.

Conclusions: Pornography use is common and associated with some health and behavioural outcomes. Longitudinal research is needed to determine the causal impact of pornography on these factors.

Implications for public health: Viewing pornography is common and frequent among young people from a young age and this needs to be considered in sexuality education.

First medical study on chest binding recently published

The first medical study on chest binding transgender and non-binary people was published last year. 

The researchers hope that the study will provide an initial roadmap for change, educating physicians on the benefits and impacts of binding and allowing those who bind to take charge of their health. They scoured peer-reviewed literature and information from health clinics, LGBTQ organizations, and online community resources, coming up with 28 potential health outcomes from binding. 1,800 respondents answered an online survey with questions ranging from how often they bound, what they used to bind their chests with, and their gender identity.

  • Read more about the study and chest-binding here 
  • Read study abstract here (for full text, see your librarian)