GT – by Dean Eastmond
Only 20% of under 18s get tested
Young gay men are not getting tested for HIV nearly as much as their older counterparts according to a new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The research concludes that only 20% of 14 to 18 year olds have ever been tested.
The study — conducted in conjuction with the Centre of Innovative Public Health Research — unearthed the statistics in comparison to a 92% testing rate of those over the age of 18.
In a statement, Dr. Brian Mutanski, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine added: ”Rates of new HIV infections to continue to increase among young gay and bisexual men.”
“Testing is critical because it can help those who are positive receive lifesaving medical care. Effective treatment can also help prevent them from transmitting the virus to others.”
As part of the study, gay teens were asked why they had not been tested in the past. The two biggest reasons were the fear of being outed to their friends and family and not seeing themselves at risk from HIV.
Dr. Gregory Phillips II explained that “understanding the barriers to testing provides critical information for intervening, so we can help young men get tested.
“Providing in-school testing would normalise the process. If there is a constant presence of on-site testing at schools, testing would seem less stigmatised. It would also increase knowledge about the testing precess and make it less scary,” he continued.