CAHSS Faculty Articles


Impact of Counseling and Testing on HIV-Infected Men Who Have Sex with Men: The South Beach Health Survey


Department of Justice and Human Services

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AIDS and Behavior





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The impact of HIV counseling and testing on sexual risk-taking and related behaviors reported by HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) was examined in a cross-sectional study conducted among a representative sample of residents living in a resort area. Participants provided specimens of oral mucosal transudate for HIV-antibody testing, were interviewed in their homes, and completed a self-administered questionnaire. Specimens were tested by modified ELISA and, if repeatedly positive, confirmed by Western blot. Of 205 men enrolled, 51 (24.9%) tested positive for antibody to HIV. All 51 had been counseled and tested for antibody to HIV-1 (median = 4 tests); 37 (74%) of 50 reported that their most recent test was positive. Twenty (39.2%) said they had engaged in unprotected insertive anal intercourse in the past year; 15 (29.4%) engaged in unprotected insertive anal intercourse with partners who may have been susceptible to HIV infection. Men who reported that their last HIV-antibody test was positive were three times more likely to have engaged in unprotected insertive anal intercourse in the past year (45.9%) as those who did not know they were infected with HIV (15.4%). Counseling and testing is ineffective as a measure for promoting behavior change among HIV-positive MSM in South Beach. More effective social and behavioral interventions must be developed, implemented, and evaluated.

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