Utilisation of Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing for HIV by Men Who Have Sex with Men in Northeastern Thailand
AbstractBackground:HIV/AIDS remains a serious public health problem globally and in Thailand, and men who have sex with men (MSM) are at particularly high risk of infection. To reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS, Thailand provides Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing (VCCT) for MSM at no cost.
Methods: This cross-sectional study (n = 565) assessed VCCT participation rates and examined a variety of factors that potentially influence participation in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: Results showed that 43% of the study subjects had participated in VCCT, and five factors were found to be associated with participation. For two of these, the association was positive: those aged older than 24 years and reporting a frequency of sexual intercourse of at least once every month over the past three months were more likely to have participated. Three factors were negatively related: subjects who reported that their family did not know their sexual orientation, that their first sexual partner was a stranger or was the result of chance as opposed to some other kind of partner, and that they had no history of sexually transmitted disease were less likely to use VCCT. Knowledge about VCCT and HIV/AIDS and attitudes to VCCT were unrelated to participation.
Conclusion: Thailand is falling well behind in achieving national and international targets in testing MSM for HIV infection, and there is an urgent need for a major re-engineering of VCCT services in terms of promotion, outreach and acceptability
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