Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unexpected Outcomes

Back to being busy with studies so just a note:

A peer gave a presentation on his dissertation topic this week. He is studying the HIV testing behavior in black men who have sex with men. MSM is the term that is used by the CDC and in research to describe men that have sex with men, this can include men who do not consider themselves to be or identify with homosexuals.

Any way - the CDC encourages HIV testing based on the theory that testing will reduce incidence of new disease. Others in public health support testing, but do not emphasize it more than behavior change - i.e. condom use, monogamy, etc.

Here is one reason why testing is not enough or perhaps not THE best message. A certain percent of people (I didn't write the number) who test positive for HIV WILL in fact change their behavior and use condoms or practice abstinence. However, NOT 100% will change so the disease can still be spread. A larger percent of people who test negative will NOT change their behavior and can then become infected and infect others.

In other words, testing can give some persons a false sense of security. It doesn't matter who you have sex with - safe sex is smart sex.

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