To test or not? HIV antibody testing amongst gay men

Paul Flowers, Stephanie Church

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews the literature regarding levels of HIV antibody testing amongst gay men and rationales both for and against testing. Whilst marked differences in levels of reported testing were identified (regionally, nationally and across time), some consensus was found regarding reasons both for and against HIV antibody testing. Reasons for testing included accessing medical treatments, planning for the future and hoping for peace of mind. Reasons against testing included the negative psychological and social consequences of positive test results. The findings of the review are discussed in terms of recent medical discourses, which provide a powerful rationale for the uptake of HIV antibody testing amongst all gay men where treatments are available. Critically, we illustrate the lack of current research that seeks to reappraise HIV testing in the light of new HIV treatments, and discussed the implications for both research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-65
Number of pages23
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2002


  • HIV testing
  • gay men


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