Background/introduction Early HIV diagnosis prevents morbidity, mortality and transmission. UK 2014 figures show 40% of new diagnoses were “late” and estimate an HIV positive population of 103,700, with 17% remaining undiagnosed. Innovative testing approaches may help. Home/self-testing kits became available for UK purchase in April 2015. We describe a free online HIV home/self-testing project.
Aim(s)/objectives To determine feasibility/acceptability of HIV home/self-testing
Methods OraQuick Advance HIV1/2 Rapid Antibody Tests (using oral fluid for immediate self-testing) were requested online by individuals who confirmed studying the testing information and demonstration video. Postal kits included a username/password to allow completion of a feedback form, plus an out-of-hours mobile number for immediate support. £282.28 was spent on targeted Facebook advertising. (OraQuick Advance is not a CE marked home/self-testing kit. The MHRA were consulted and due to particular specifics of our programme an additional CE mark/formal notification was not required.)
Results Between 21/05/2015–08/02/2016, 513 kits were posted [394 (77%) males, 119 (23%) females; 352 (72%) urban, 135 (28%) rural]. Two new HIV diagnoses were identified (2/513 = 3.9/1000, compared with 1.9/1000 overall UK HIV prevalence, 2014). Partner notification produced one further HIV diagnosis. Ninety-eight (19%) feedback forms were completed; 19 females/79 males. Of the 79 males, 58 (73%) were men who have sex with men (MSM). Forty-six (47%) had never tested previously; 25/58 (37%) MSM had never tested. When asked why they chose this test, 26 said fast result, five no blood required and 67 no appointment/consultation.
Discussion/conclusion HIV home/self-testing is highly acceptable to those choosing it and can reach previously untested individuals.
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