Men Who Have Sex with Men Are More Likely to Test Themselves for HIV, SA Study Finds

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BYLINE: NATASHA JOSEPH

MEN who identify openly as gay and who engage regularly with other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities are more likely to be tested for HIV than the rest of South Africa's "general population", according to a newly-released study.

The study, "HIV testing and self-reported HIV status in South African men who have sex with men: results from a community-based survey" was conducted by an American researcher along with researchers from the University of South Africa's Centre for Applied Psychology and the Human Sciences Research Council.

More than 1 000 men from the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were asked whether they had been tested for HIV and what their HIV|status was.

The director of Unisa's Centre for Applied Psychology and one of the study's co-authors, Juan Nel, said "men who have sex with men (MSM)" were |not just self-identified |homosexuals.

Bisexual men, men who were uncertain or undecided about their sexual orientation, men who had sex with other men but would "never describe themselves as gay" and men who had sex with other men because they did not have any contact with women were all interviewed for the study, Nel said.

He said the study found that men who had sex with men were more likely to get tested for HIV than happened in "the general population".

According to the study, "the proportion of MSM in this study who have been tested is remarkably high" when compared with national South African figures.

The authors wrote that nationally, only 30. …