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NHBS study surpasses 300 interviews

The National HIV Behavioral Surveillance study (NHBS) kicked off its venue based sampling of gay and non-gay identified men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City on July 9, 2011. To date, roughly 304 men have agreed to participate in the study with roughly 290 eligible to participate; of those 290, roughly 275 also agreed to be tested for HIV. The team has sampled at bars, dance clubs, sex shops and stores, and parks, and in four of the five boroughs. To date, the most difficult populations to sample have been those men who identify as White, have higher than average incomes, and who frequent bars in midtown Manhattan. Conversely, the easiest populations to sample have been Black and Hispanic men with lower to no income and who frequent parks for sex. Participants who consent to HIV testing are given the option of receiving their results in 20 minutes via an oral swab called an Oraquick, or waiting two weeks for the results of an oral confirmatory test called an Orasure. Participants testing via Orasure can call on specified days to receive test results. To date, only three participants have tested positive via the Oraquick method; of those three, two departed before receiving their results because they decided they would rather not know their HIV status. Of those agreeing to be tested via Orasure, only five have called to receive their results, and all five were negative for HIV.