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Usage of purchased self-tests for HIV infections among migrants living in the UK, France and the Netherlands: a cross-sectional study

Abstract

Objectives Self-tests are performed and interpreted autonomously by a person without involving a healthcare professional or a certified laboratory. To gain insight into the usage of purchased HIV self-tests (HIVST) among migrants living in high-income countries, we studied the prevalence and determinants of HIVST usage among migrants living in the UK, France and the Netherlands.

Methods We used web-based questionnaire data collected between April 2014 and July 2015 among migrants living in the UK, France and the Netherlands who participated in the cross-sectional community survey of the aMASE (advancing Migrant Access to health Services in Europe) study. HIVST usage in the preceding 12 months and the corresponding 95% CIs were calculated. Using univariate logistic regression analyses, determinants of HIVST usage were evaluated.

Results Among 477 migrants living in the UK (n=235), France (n=98) and the Netherlands (n=144), HIVST usage in the preceding 12 months was 1.89% (9/477, 95% CI 0.66% to 3.11%). As all nine HIVST users were men who have sex with men (MSM), we restricted our univariate analyses to MSM (n=240). HIVST usage was borderline significantly lower among MSM living in France and the Netherlands compared with those living in the UK (UK: reference; France: OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.03 to 1.14; the Netherlands: OR 0.06, 95% CI 0.00 to 1.05). Age, region of birth, educational level, registration at a general practitioner, recent number of male sexual partners and hard drug use were not associated with HIVST usage among MSM.

Conclusions HIVST usage among migrants from the UK, France and the Netherlands was relatively low between 2014 and 2015 but higher among migrant MSM. To increase HIV testing rates among migrants, programmes need to be developed to promote HIVST among this group. Also, as more countries approve usage of HIVST, systems need to be established to ensure linkage to confirmatory testing and care following a positive test.

  • HIV infections
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Europe
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
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