HIV is rare among low-risk heterosexual men and significant potential savings could occur through phone results

Matiu R. Bush, Henrietta Williams, Christopher K. Fairley

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The legislation in Victoria requires HIV-positive results to be given in person by an accredited health professional. Many sexual health clinics require all men to receive HIV results in person. Our aim was to determine the proportion of low-risk heterosexual men at a sexual health centre who tested HIV-positive. Methods: The electronic data on all HIV tests performed between 2002 and 2008 on heterosexual men at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) was reviewed. The individual client files of all heterosexual men who tested HIV-positive were reviewed to determine their risks for HIV at the time that the HIV test was ordered. Results: Over the 6 years there were 33681 HIV tests performed on men, of which 17958 tests were for heterosexual men. From these heterosexual men, nine tested positive for the first time at MSHC (0.05%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.01%, 0.09%). These nine cases included six men who had had sex with a female partner from the following countries: Thailand, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Botswana and South Africa. Two men had injected drugs and one had a HIV-positive female partner. Of the 17958 test results for heterosexual males, 14902 (83% 95% CI: 84%, 86%) test results were for men who did not have a history of intravenous drug use or had sexual contact overseas. Of these 14902 low-risk men, none tested positive (0%, 95% CI: 0, 0.00025). Conclusion: Asking the 83% of heterosexual men who have an extremely low risk of HIV to return in person for their results is expensive for sexual health clinics and inconvenient for clients. We have changed our policy to permit heterosexual men without risk factors to obtain their HIV-negative results by phone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-497
Number of pages3
JournalSexual Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • HIV testing
  • results

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