HealthDay News — Few adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM) have had an HIV test, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Brian Mustanski, PhD, from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues obtained data from an ongoing pragmatic trial of an online HIV prevention intervention for 699 AMSM.

The researchers found that 23.2% of the AMSM had ever had an HIV test. With age, there was an increase in the rates of testing (5.6, 15.8, and 37.8% in those aged 13 to 14, 15 to 16, and 17 to 18 years, respectively). Sexual experience strongly predicted testing (odds ratio, 6.54). Although more than two-thirds of participants (67.5%) had a regular doctor, few had conversations about same-sex sexual behaviors, HIV testing, or sexual orientation (21.3, 19.2, and 29.2%, respectively). A large effect was seen for speaking to a doctor about HIV testing (odds ratio, 25.29); 75.4 and 10.8% of those who had such conversations and had not had such conversations, respectively, had been tested.

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“Doctors — pediatricians in particular — need to be having more frank and open conversations with their male teenage patients, including a detailed sexual history and a discussion about sexual orientation — ideally a private conversation without parents present,” Mustanski said in a statement.

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