PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to determine whether state-level policies that restrict minors’ access to confidential HIV testing without parental consent may suppress HIV testing in young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in the United States.
METHODS: Secondary data from a national HIV prevention trial among YMSM aged 13-17 years (N= 612) were analyzed to evaluate the association between living in a state with restrictive HIV testing policies for minors and HIV testing behavior, awareness of home-based HIV testing, and confidential interactions with a physician. Multilevel logistic regression models were adjusted for age, parents’ education level, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, being sexually experienced, and health literacy of medical forms and controlled for clustering by state. Age-stratified models by state-level age of consent for HIV testing and a subanalysis (including only sexually experienced participants) were also conducted.
RESULTS: Residing in a state with restrictive HIV testing policies was associated with the lack of awareness of home-based HIV testing (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 3.06; 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.49, 6.28). No significant associations were found for HIV testing behavior (aOR: 1.81; 95% CI: 0.85, 3.84), speaking privately with a physician (aOR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.56, 1.79), or discussing confidentiality with a physician (aOR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.52, 1.71) and HIV testing policies for minors. These results were consistent in both the age-stratified models and subanalysis.
DISCUSSION: HIV testing proportions among YMSM did not differ by state-level minor consent laws. However, YMSM living in states with restrictive policies on HIV testing for minors were less likely to be aware of home-based HIV testing.
Are state-level HIV testing policies for minors associated with HIV testing behavior and awareness of home-based HIV testing in young men who have sex with men?
Journal of Adolescent Health, 70 (6), 902-909. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.12.023. PMCID: PMC9133134.