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High acceptability of rapid HIV self-testing among a diverse sample of MSM from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Pando, Maria A.; Dolezal, Curtis L.; Marone, Rubén O.; Barreda, Victoria; Carballo-Dieguez, Alex; Avila, Maria M.; Balán, Iván C.

Introduction

The objective of this study was to explore the acceptability of rapid HIV self-testing (RHST) among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Methods

During 2006–2009, a sample of 500 MSM was recruited through Respondent Driven Sampling for an HIV prevalence/incidence study. Attitude toward RHST was explored among HIV negative MSM. Data were weighted prior to analyses.

Results

Participants reported they were likely to buy RHST (74%), test themselves more frequently than they currently do (77%), and that the procedure would simplify testing (70%). Furthermore, 71% reported they would probably use it alone, 66% would use it with a steady partner, and 56% with a friend/partner. While a majority acknowledged that RHST use would deprive them of receiving counseling (61%), 74% declared they would go for help if they tested positive; 57% would use an RHST in order to avoid condoms. Probability of use surpassed 70% among gay and non-gay identified MSM as well as those with and without a previous HIV test. Those likely to buy RHST were older (p = 0.025) and more likely to identify as gay (p = 0.036). A total of 17% said they would think about killing themselves and 9% would attempt suicide if they tested positive. These MSM were more likely to be younger (p<0.001), with lower mood level (p<0.001) and greater feelings of loneliness (p = 0.026).

Conclusions

The high acceptability of RHST found among MSM should encourage the authorities to consider the possibility of offering it for self-testing, as it can improve early diagnosis and prevention of future transmissions. However, further research is needed to understand how to best disseminate RHST among MSM who wish to use it and to offer support and linkage to care for those who test HIV-positive.

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Psychiatry
Published Here
October 1, 2017
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