Challenges with couples HIV counselling and testing among black MSM students: perspectives of university students in Durban, South Africa
Research suggests that HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) are acquired rom primary partners, yet MSM continually fail to take part in couples HIV counselling and testing (CHCT). To identify factors that inhibit MSM in universities from regularly testing for HIV with their sexual partners, this study considered the perspectives and experiences of 15 MSM students in Durban, South Africa. The findings show that despite appreciating the value of couple testing it is relatively uncommon. MSM resist doing so with their casual partners as this would presumably signal an intention to advance the relationship beyond the short-term. Other barriers included; experienced and perceived homophobia at public testing centres, trust-based assumptions that primary partners need not test for HIV and fear of discord. They also employed alternative strategies to purportedly determine their casual and primary partners’ status in the absence of CHCT. Alternative strategies include; initiating sexual relationships with casual partners whose sexual history is known and making use of home-based testing kits to avoid CHCT at public testing centres. These findings emphasise the need for LGBTIQ-friendly couple-based approaches as a necessary component of HIV prevention interventions among MSM in universities.