Title

Barriers to HIV testing among young men who have sex with men (MSM): Experiences from Clark County, Nevada

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Clark County, Nevada had a 52% increase in newly diagnosed HIV infections in young people age 13-24 with 83% of the new diagnoses in this age group being men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV testing and counseling is critical for HIV prevention, care and treatment, yet young people are the least likely to seek HIV testing. The purpose of this study was to identify barriers and facilitators to HIV testing experienced by young MSM in Clark County, Nevada. We conducted a qualitative focus group discussion to identify barriers and facilitators to HIV testing among eleven young MSM in March, 2015. The primary barrier to HIV testing identified by the group was a lack of awareness or knowledge about testing for HIV. Other barriers within the person included: fear of results, fear of rejection, and fear of disclosure. Barriers identified within the environment included: access issues, stigma, and unfriendly test environments for young people. In addition to increasing awareness, intervention to increase HIV testing among MSM young people should incorporate access to testing in environments where the adolescents are comfortable and which reduces stigma. HIV testing sites should be convenient, accessible and young person/gay friendly.