Correlates of prior HIV testing among men who have sex with men in Cameroon: A cross-sectional analysis

Ju Nyeong Park, Erin Papworth, Serge Clotaire Billong, Jean Bosco Elat, Sethson Kassegne, Ashley Grosso, Laure Moukam, Isaac Macauley, Yves Roger Yomb, Valentin Mondoleba, Jules Eloundou, Matthew LeBreton, Sosthenes Charles Ketende, Stefan Baral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Regular HIV testing is vital for timely linkage to the HIV care continuum and ensuring the success of behavioral and biomedical interventions to prevent HIV acquisition. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a key population for HIV prevention, treatment, and care efforts globally. This study measures the factors associated with prior HIV testing among MSM in Cameroon. Methods: In 2011, 272 and 239 MSM aged ≥ 18 were recruited from Douala and Yaoundé respectively using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) for a cross-sectional surveillance study. Participants completed a structured socio-behavioral survey and were offered HIV and syphilis testing and counseling. Results: The majority of men self-reported ever testing for HIV (81.6%; 413/506) and receiving their last HIV test result (95.4%; 394/413). Testing in the last 12 months was more prevalent in Douala (63.3%; 169/267) compared to Yaoundé (55.9%; 132/236). Median frequency of testing was every 18 months in Douala and every two years in Yaoundé. In multivariate RDS-weighted analysis, correlates of ever testing for HIV in Douala were: having higher than secondary education compared to having secondary education or less (aOR = 3.51, 95% CI: 1.32-9.34), ever accessing a community-based HIV service for MSM (aOR = 3.37, 95% CI: 1.57-7.24) and having ≥4 male oral or anal sexual partners in the past 12 months (aOR = 2.49, 1.08-5.74). In Yaoundé, having higher than secondary education (aOR = 7.96, 95% CI: 1.31-48.41) was associated with ever testing for HIV. Conclusions: Supporting regular HIV testing and linkage to care is important in a context of high HIV prevalence and limited use of condoms and condom-compatible lubricants. Building the capacity of MSM organizations and mainstream health services to deliver affordable, integrated, confidential, and MSM-sensitive HIV testing may assist in effectively engaging more MSM in the HIV treatment cascade. Giving specific attention to MSM who are younger, of lower socioeconomic status and less connected to community-based MSM organizations may increase HIV testing uptake. Given the levels of HIV testing and high HIV prevalence among MSM in Cameroon, optimizing the safe and effective provision and uptake of antiretroviral-based prevention and treatment approaches is paramount in changing the trajectory of the HIV epidemic among these men and within their sexual networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1220
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Africa
  • Epidemiology
  • HIV testing
  • Health behaviors
  • Homosexuality
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Prevention
  • Respondent-driven sampling (RDS)
  • Risk factors
  • Voluntary counseling and testing (VCT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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