HIV testing is associated with increased knowledge and reductions in sexual risk behaviours among men in Cape Town, South Africa

  • Lori AJ Scott-Sheldon
  • Michael P Carey
  • Kate B Carey
  • Demetria Cain
  • Leickness C Simbayi
  • Vuyelwa Mehlomakhulu
  • Seth C Kalichman

Abstract

HIV testing benefits those who test positive, allowing them to receive treatment, but the benefits for those who test negative remain controversial. We evaluated the impact of testing on HIV knowledge and sexual risk among men in South Africa. Men were recruited from townships outside Cape Town and completed a survey that assessed testing history, knowledge, and sexual behaviours. Among the 820 participants, 516 (63%) reported being tested (82% tested negative, 6% tested positive, and 12% unknown). Compared to those who had never been tested for HIV, men who tested for HIV were more knowledgeable about HIV transmission, but did not differ on sexual risk behaviour. Knowledge moderated the effect of testing on sexual risk such that men reported fewer sexual partners (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.84, 0.98) and fewer unprotected anal sex events (IRR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.66, 1.00) if they had been tested for HIV and were knowledgeable about HIV transmission. For men testing HIV-negative, knowledge predicted fewer sexual risk behaviours. Previous HIV testing is associated with enhanced knowledge, which moderates sexual risk behaviour among South African men living in Cape Town. Results suggest that HIV testing may increase knowledge and lead to reductions in sexual risk even when results are negative.

Keywords: HIV testing, knowledge, men, sexual risk behaviour, South Africa

African Journal of AIDS Research 2013, 12(4): 195–201

Author Biographies

Lori AJ Scott-Sheldon
Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, CORO West, Suite 309, 164 Summit Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, School of Public Health, Brown University, Box G-S121-5, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA
Michael P Carey
Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, CORO West, Suite 309, 164 Summit Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, School of Public Health, Brown University, Box G-S121-5, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA
Kate B Carey
Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, School of Public Health, Brown University, Box G-S121-5, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA
Demetria Cain
Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, 406 Babbidge Road, Unit 1020, Storrs, Connecticutt 06269-1020, USA
Leickness C Simbayi
Human Sciences Research Council, Private Bag X9182, Cape Town 8000, South Africa; Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Vuyelwa Mehlomakhulu
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Wits Health Consortium, Department of Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Helen Joseph Hospital, Perth Road, Westdene 2092, Johannesburg, South Africa [Formally at HRSC in Cape Town, South Africa]
Seth C Kalichman
Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, 406 Babbidge Road, Unit 1020, Storrs, Connecticutt 06269-1020, USA
Published
2014-01-22
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445