Acceptability and intended usage preferences for six HIV testing options among internet-using men who have sex with men.Springerplus. 2014;3:109
Authors: Sharma A, Stephenson RB, White D, Sullivan PS
BACKGROUND: Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately impacted by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic in the United States (US). Testing for HIV is the cornerstone of comprehensive prevention efforts and the gateway to early engagement of infected individuals in medical care. We sought to determine attitudes towards six different HIV testing modalities presented collectively to internet-using MSM and identify which options rank higher than others in terms of intended usage preference.
METHODS: Between October and November 2012, we surveyed 973 HIV-negative or -unknown status MSM and assessed their acceptability of each of the following services hypothetically offered free of charge: Testing at a physician's office; Individual voluntary counseling and testing (VCT); Couples' HIV counseling and testing (CHCT); Expedited/express testing; Rapid home self-testing using an oral fluid test; Home dried blood spot (DBS) specimen self-collection for laboratory testing. Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to determine whether the stated likelihood of using each of these modalities differed by selected respondent characteristics. Men were also asked to rank these options in order of intended usage preference, and consensual rankings were determined using the modified Borda count (MBC) method.
RESULTS: Most participants reported being extremely likely or somewhat likely to use all HIV testing modalities except DBS self-collection for laboratory testing. Younger MSM indicated greater acceptability for expedited/express testing (P < 0.001), and MSM with lower educational levels reported being more likely to use CHCT (P < 0.001). Non-Hispanic black MSM indicated lower acceptability for VCT (P < 0.001). Rapid home self-testing using an oral fluid test and testing at a physician's office were the two most preferred options across all demographic and behavioral strata.
CONCLUSIONS: Novel approaches to increase the frequency of HIV testing among US MSM are urgently needed. Combination testing packages could enable high risk MSM in putting together annual testing strategies personalized to their circumstances, and warrant due consideration as an element of combination HIV prevention packages.