Young, online and in the dark: Scaling up HIV testing among MSM in ASEAN

Thomas E. Guadamuz, Doug H. Cheung, Chongyi Wei, Stuart Koe, Sin How Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Poor HIV testing uptake by MSM may be attributable to unique challenges that are localized in Southeast Asia. Objective: To characterize MSM who never tested for HIV, to identify correlates of never testing, and to elucidate the perceived barriers to HIV testing. Methods: The present study used data from the Asian Internet MSM Sex Survey (AIMSS) and restricted the analysis to 4,310 MSM from the ten member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Results: Among MSM participants from ASEAN in our sample, 1290 (29.9%) reported having never been tested for HIV, 471 (10.9%) tested for HIV more than 2 years ago, and 2186 (50.7%) reported their last test date was between 6 months and two years ago, with only 363 (8.4%) of these men having been tested in the past 6 months. In multivariable logistic regression, younger MSM (age 15-22 years old [AOR: 4.60, 95% CI: 3.04-6.96]), MSM with lower education (secondary school or lower [AOR: 1.37, 95% CI: 1.03-1.83]), MSM who identify as bisexual or heterosexual (compared to gay-identified) (AOR: 1.94, 95% CI: 1.60-2.35), and MSM who had never used a condom with male partners (AOR: 1.61, 95% CI: 1.32-1.97) had higher odds of never been HIV tested. Main reason for not being tested was a low risk perception of HIV exposure (n = 390, 30.2%). Conclusion: Current HIV prevention response must not leave MSM "in the dark," but instead meet them where they are by utilizing the Internet creatively through social media and smart phones. As ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is quickly becoming a reality, so must there be an equally fast and united response to slowing down the HIV epidemics among MSM in ASEAN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0126658
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 14 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Young, online and in the dark: Scaling up HIV testing among MSM in ASEAN'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this