Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gay couples in Atlanta back HIV tests together

Some gay male couples, including ones in Atlanta and two other cities, support getting HIV tests with their partner as a way to bolster the relationship, but current testing protocols may not support it, according to a new study from Emory University researchers.

The study, “Attitudes Towards Couples-Based HIV Testing Among MSM in Three U.S. Cities,” was published in the journal AIDS and Behavior. Dr. Rob Stephenson of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory worked with three colleagues from the school and others in Chicago and Seattle to complete the study. It calls on opening HIV testing to gay couples as a way to fill “a significant gap” in couples-based services for men who have sex with men (MSM) and to help them integrate routine HIV testing into their lives.

“Services remain individually focused,” the researchers say. “[Couples-based voluntary HIV counseling and testing] provides an opportunity for MSM to talk about sex, and to make plans for safer sexual behavior as a couple in the presence of a counselor.”

“The initial results presented here are encouraging. Couples-based voluntary HIV counseling and testing] is an acceptable format for HIV counseling and testing among MSM in this study, and if it is adapted and promoted well, could fill a significant gap in couples-based services for U.S. MSM,” they add.

The researchers launched the study after noting that heterosexual couples in Africa in which one member is HIV-positive and the other is not who receive HIV counseling and testing together helped bring about behavioral changes that reduced HIV transmission. So they examined attitudes toward couples-based testing with four focus groups of gay men in relationships in Atlanta, Chicago and Seattle.

[If an item is not written by an IRMA member, it should not be construed that IRMA has taken a position on the article's content, whether in support or in opposition.]


Anonymous said...

You do know that there are people who are infected, and dead, because of false trust, that is, a partner who lied about their fidelity/status? That is just plain old human nature. You don't have to sit it in during the testing. Ask the medical staff doing the testing to provide you with a letter stating the results of each test.

Ask around to see if anyone you know has ever been cheated on or lied to by a partner about their fidelity or HIV status. You may discover that to be a common event.

>"No, I would not expect to sit in on an HIV test with my partner. If you REALLY trusted your partner, you would trust that when he comes out of that test he tells you his real result. I don't need to sit in on my partner's HIV test because we DO trust and love each other enough to be honest without "proving" our love by getting tested together."

Anonymous said...

I don't think this article is suggesting that couples testing together be made mandatory at all. But if you REALLY were that close with your partner, who cares if you sit in on their test? If you share everything, an HIV test shouldn't have to be excluded from this. I think this article is saying that maybe an HIV test would be less scary if you had someone you loved by your side, maybe this would encourage people to test (and we do need more people to test), and maybe this would lessen some of the stigma associated with being HIV positive or taking an HIV test.

Anonymous said...

And it might lead people to be more careful with a positive or negative test result.

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