Research conducted by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities has found that less than 1 in 4 adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM) ever get tested for HIV.

Six hundred and ninety-nine AMSM participants between 13 and 18 years of age were recruited from an ongoing trial, SMART, which evaluated existing HIV prevention programs. Each participant provided data on their age, race/ethnicity, and place of residence. A questionnaire was developed by researchers to assess their socioeconomic status, as well as to evaluate their HIV transmission risk, communication with physicians, and attitudes toward getting tested for HIV.

Approximately half of the participants were Latino or African American, and only a small number had conversations with their clinicians about same-sex behavior, sexual orientation, and HIV testing. The researchers also noted that older AMSM were more likely to report getting tested than their younger equivalents.

Although there were several factors that encouraged AMSM to get tested for HIV, patient-clinician conversations were the most crucial. The researchers suggested nonverbal ways to facilitate physician conversations, such as adaptations in the office environment to reflect inclusivity.

Sexual and gender minority teenagers have a disproportionate risk of acquiring HIV due to structural barriers preventing them from getting tested, according to the researchers. Other contributing factors include lack of knowledge about legally being able to consent for testing and the social stigma of being outed.


Less than a quarter of at-risk adolescent boys ever get tested for HIV. NIH. Published February 11, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2020.

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