Asian Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)’s Perceptions of Risk Behaviour and Attitudes Towards HIV Testing in New Zealand
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This pilot study explores Asian Men Who have Sex with Men (MSM)’s perception of risk behavior and HIV testing in New Zealand using the Health Belief Model (HBM) framework. Though Asian MSM in this pilot report high recall of HIV prevention messages and high knowledge of HIV, their perception of HIV risk and what constitutes enough reason to test for HIV present as key barriers. Participants did not perceive HIV testing as necessary for them as they mitigate HIV risk through modelling monogamous sexual relationships and avoiding condomless sex with multiple partners. A perception that sexual partnering in the openly gay, non-Asian gay community as being more risky, a low involvement in openly gay community where targeted HIV testing is easily accessible, fear of stigma in the Asian community of homosexuality and HIV and limited desire to accessing primary health care (GPs) until the first episode of illness all present as barriers to HIV testing for Asian MSM. New HIV infections among Asian MSM are rising in New Zealand. Targeted outreach and further research are necessary if practitioners in HIV prevention seek to increase testing among Asian MSM in the country. As early HIV treatment is shown to reduce infectivity of people newly diagnosed with HIV, it is important for rates of testing to increase among this population group to fully realize the benefits of early detection, treatment and in preventing new infections. A key outcome of this pilot study is a questionnaire for further research focusing on Asian MSM and their HIV testing behaviour.