Factors associated with testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in men who have sex with men and transgender women in Bangkok, Thailand

for the RV348B Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Routine screening for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) facilitates early diagnosis and treatment, thereby preventing morbidity and onward transmission. We estimated the prevalence of prior HIV/STI testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) in Bangkok, Thailand, and identified factors associated with prior testing. Methods: Cross-sectional analyses were performed using data collected at enrollment into an HIV incidence cohort. From April to October 2017, MSM and TGW were enrolled if they were aged 18–35 years, reported anal intercourse with a male or TGW partner, and reported behavioral vulnerability to HIV. Participants answered questions about demographics, sexual behaviors, and lifetime HIV/STI testing history. Multivariable robust Poisson regression was used to estimate risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for factors potentially associated with prior testing. Results: Among 1,014 participants, 348 (34.3%) were TGW and the median age was 21.6 (interquartile range 20.0-24.8) years. Prior testing for HIV was reported by 421 (41.5%) and for other STIs by 268 (26.4%). HIV testing was more common among participants aged ≥ 22 years (RR 1.37 [95% CI 1.13–1.67]), with college education as compared to secondary or less (RR 1.37 [95% CI 1.08–1.72]), and who met male sexual partners online (RR 1.52 [95% CI 1.24–1.85]), but lower among participants attracted to both men and women as compared to men only (RR 0.64 [95% CI 0.51–0.81]) and who met male sexual partners in bars (RR 0.83 [95% CI 0.72–0.97]). Similar associations were observed with prior testing for other STIs, including increased testing among participants with college education (RR 1.52 [95% CI 1.11–2.09]) and who met male sexual partners online (RR 1.73 [95% CI 1.30–2.31]), but lower among participants attracted to both men and women (RR 0.70 [95% CI 0.51–0.96]) and who met male sexual partners in bars (RR 0.67 [95% CI 0.54–0.83]). Conclusions: Despite behavioral vulnerability, prior testing for HIV and other STIs was uncommon. Online engagement strategies may be effectively reaching Thai MSM and TGW who meet sexual partners online, but new interventions are needed to encourage testing among younger, less educated, and bisexual MSM and TGW.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalAIDS Research and Therapy
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Early diagnosis
  • Healthcare acceptability
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Screening practices
  • Screening practices
  • Sexual and gender minorities
  • Testing practices
  • Voluntary counseling and testing

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