Sustaining success: a qualitative study of gay and bisexual men’s experiences and perceptions of HIV self-testing in a randomized controlled trial

Zhang, Ye; Guy, Rebecca J.; Smith, Kirsty S.; Jamil, Muhammad S.; Prestage, Garrett; Applegate, Tanya L.; Conway, Damian P.; Holt, Martin; Keen, Phillip; Bavinton, Benjamin; McNulty, Anna M.; Batrouney, Colin; Russell, Darren; Vaughan, Matt; Chen, Marcus; Fairley, Christopher K.; Grulich, Andrew E.; Kaldor, John M.; Callander, Denton

HIV self-testing was proved as an effective tool for increasing testing frequency in gay and bisexual men at high risk of infection. Questions remain about understanding why HIVST encouraged testing and how such success can be translated to programmatic implementation.

We conducted a qualitative investigation of how FORTH participants experienced and perceived HIVST. Stratified sampling was used to recruit gay and bisexual men participating in the FORTH HIVST intervention to take part in interviews, focusing on infrequent testers and those who had received inaccurate HIVST results.

Our analysis identified several prominent themes organized into two overarching domains from the 15 interviews: (i) aspects of HIVST contributing to HIV testing frequency, and (ii) sustaining HIVST into the future. Participants also believed that their use of HIVST in the future would depend on the test kit’s reliability, particularly when compared with highly reliable clinic-based testing.

HIVST increases the frequency of HIV testing among gay and bisexual men due, in part, to the practical, psychological, and social benefits it offers. To capitalize fully on these benefits, however, strategies to ensure the availability of highly reliable HIVST are required to sustain benefits beyond the confines of a structured research study.


  • thumnail for 12889_2021_Article_12011.pdf 12889_2021_Article_12011.pdf application/pdf 400 KB Download File

Also Published In

BMC Public Health

More About This Work

Published Here
August 10, 2022


HIV self-testing, Home HIV testing, Qualitative study, Gay and bisexual men, Sustainability, Australia