HIV Non-Disclosure Prosecution Fears Lower Testing Rates

Non-disclosure criminal prosecutions among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men have been increasing.

According to a recently published study, fear of prosecution over HIV non-disclosure was reported to reduce HIV testing willingness by a minority of HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM).

Even though HIV transmission risk is low with effective antiretroviral therapy (ART), non-disclosure criminal prosecutions among gay, bisexual and other MSM are increasing. Because reduced testing may decrease the impact of HIV ‘test and treat’ strategies, researchers aimed to quantify the potential impact of non-disclosure prosecution on HIV testing and transmission among MSM.

Researchers recruited 150 HIV-negative MSM attending an HIV and primary care clinic in Toronto from September 2010—June 2012. Eligible participants included males 16 years or older, HIV-negative patients, and those that had sex with another man in the previous 12 months.

Participants completed an audio computer-assisted self-interview questionnaire that incorporated demographic and sexual behavior characteristics. HIV-negative participants were asked whether concern over non-disclosure prosecution altered the likelihood of HIV testing. Answers were based on a 5-point Likert scale that ranged from much less likely to much more likely to be tested.

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