Background: Black MSM are at increased risk for HIV and other STDs, which cause morbidity and potentiate HIV spread. Given the noted racial disparities in STD/HIV incidence, additional research is needed to understand the frequency of, and factors related to, STD testing among Black MSM in the
Objectives: To examine factors associated with not having tested for STDs in the prior two years.
Methods: Black MSM (N=197) recruited via respondent-driven-sampling between January-July 2008 completed an interviewer-administered assessment, with optional HIV counseling/testing/referral-services. Odds ratios obtained from logistic regression analyses were converted to relative risks.
Results: Mean age was 40.8 (SD=9.4); 61% identified as straight/bisexual, 100% reported sexual behavior with a man in the prior year. 53% reported unprotected anal sex (UAS) with a male; 30% reported UAS/vaginal sex with a female in the past year. 60% had not been tested for STDs in the prior two years, and 24% had never been tested for STDs. Factors associated with not having a recent STD test include: age (RR=1.02;p=0.008); having a prior STD (RR=1.46;p=0.005); substance-use during last sex with a casual-partner (RR=1.49;p=0.006); feeling that using a condom during sex is “very difficult” (RR=1.32;p=0.02); frequent social contact with MSM (RR=0.69;p=0.04); visiting a healthcare provider (HCP) in the past 12-months (RR=0.48;p=0.01); and having a HCP recommend STD testing at their last visit (RR=0.29;p=0.0001). In a multivariable adjusted model, Black MSM who reported that a HCP recommended getting an STD test at their last visit were significantly less likely to have not been tested for STDs in the past two years (ARR=0.11;p=0.0004).
Conclusions: Many sexually active Black MSM do not regularly test for STDs. HCPs play a pivotal role in encouraging STD testing for Black MSM.
Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research: Additional provider training is warranted to educate HCPs about the specific health care needs of Black MSM, in order to facilitate access to timely, culturally-competent STD testing/treatment services.