From 1994 to 2008, HIV testing increased significantly among men aged 18 to 29 years who have sex with men, according to data presented at the XIX International AIDS Conference.
“This may reflect, at least in part, the effect of the many CDC HIV testing initiatives in this time period, which were aimed to increase HIV testing among groups at high risk,” researcher Alexandra Oster, MD, a medical epidemiologist in the division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the CDC, said during a presentation.
In addition, Oster and colleagues also found that the prevalence of HIV among MSM aged 18 to 22 years remained stable. However, the prevalence increased among MSM aged 23 to 29 years.
The researchers used data from the Young Men’s Survey (YMS) and the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS). Both studies took place in two parts. The first YMS study took place from 1994 to 1998 and included men aged 15 to 22 years and the second YMS study took place from 1998 to 2000 and included men aged 23 to 29 years. The NHBS studies took place from 2004 to 2005 and in 2008 and included men aged at least 18 years. In these studies, young men were interviewed and offered anonymous HIV testing.
For this study, the researchers analyzed data from men aged 18 to 29 years from Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco. They divided the men into age groups of 18 to 22 years and 23 to 29 years and estimated the HIV prevalence over time and HIV testing among the groups.
In men aged 18 to 22 years, the prevalence of HIV remained stable at 11% over time. In men aged 23 to 29 years, however, the prevalence increased from 14% to 18% (P=.07). In both age groups, HIV testing increased significantly over time, from about 45% to 70%.
“To prevent ongoing transmission and improve the health of people living with HIV, it is important that young men are tested regularly are aware of their infection and are linked to and remain engaged in appropriate care,” Oster said.
Oster A. #MOAC0104. Presented at: XIX International Aids Conference; July 22-27, 2012; Washington, D.C.
Dr. Oster reports no relevant financial disclosures.