Objectives In 2017, to reduce the proportion of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the undiagnosed HIV population in France (38%), HIV screening is advised each 3 months and STI screening is advised each year in multipartner MSM. Despite the range of testing solutions, over 40% of MSM were not tested for HIV and over 50% for STIs in the past year. Based on international experiments that offer screening solutions via online advertising, the French National Health Agency launched a programme (MemoDepistages) to provide a free self-sampling kit (SSK) for HIV and STIs. This article analyses the sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics of MSM in terms of kit acceptance and sample return.
Methods Participants were registered for the programme online after ordering an SSK. The study included men aged over 18 years, living in one of the four selected French regions, and willing to disclose their postal and email address; they had health insurance, acknowledged more than one male partner in the past year, indicated a seronegative or unknown HIV status and were not taking medically prescribed pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs. Samples were collected by users and posted directly to the laboratory. Characteristics associated with kit acceptance and sample return were analysed using logistic regression.
Results Overall, 7158 eligible MSM were offered to participate in the programme, with 3428 ordering the kit (47.9%) and 1948 returning their sample, leading to a return rate of 56.8% and an overall participation rate of 27.2%. Acceptance and return rates were strongly associated with sociodemographic characteristics, mainly education level but not with behavioural characteristics. Non-college graduates had lower acceptance (44.2%) and return rates (47.7%).
Conclusion The programme rapidly recruited a large number of MSM. It removed geographical inequalities related to screening access.
- service delivery
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Handling editor Jason J Ong
Collaborators MemoDepistages group is composed of : Nathalie Lydié, Delphine Rahib, Constance Delaugerre, Héloïse Delagreverie, Béatrice Berçot, Iris Bichard, Hannane Mouhim, Hélène Salord, Vinca Icard, Thanh Thuy Le Thi, Christine Fernandez, Fatima Oria, Hervé Richaud, Sarah Lablotière, Grégoire Eiberlé, Julien Digne, Hacène Khiri, Edouard Tuaillon, Amandine Pisoni, Vincent Tribout, Marie-Noëlle Didelot.
Contributors DR and NL conceptualised and managed the study. HD, CD, T-TLT, VI, JD and ET contributed to the study design. DR, HD, AG, EV, PV, BL and AP managed the data collection. DR cured, analysed and interpreted the data to wrote the first full draft of the manuscript. NL and HD provided intellectual input for interpretation and reviewed first draft of the manuscript.
Funding This work was supported by the Agence Nationale de Recherches sur le Sida et les Hépatites Virales (ANRS) (grant number ECTZ47249).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The protocol was approved by local authorities under the number ID RCB 2017-A00838-45 and ethics committee CPP-Ouest II-ANGERS.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data could be requested to the corresponding author.