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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Previous and future use of HIV self-testing: a survey of Australian gay and bisexual men

Garrett Prestage A B E , Iryna Zablotska A , Ben Bavinton A , Andrew Grulich A , Phillip Keen A , Dean Murphy C D , Graham Brown B , Jack Bradley A , Martin Holt C and Rebecca Guy A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia.

B Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, La Trobe University, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

C Centre for Social Research and Health, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia.

D Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, PO BOX 51, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: gprestage@kirby.unsw.edu.au

Sexual Health 13(1) 55-62 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH15099
Submitted: 17 May 2015  Accepted: 10 September 2015   Published: 27 October 2015

Abstract

Background: The awareness and previous and intended use of HIV self-testing (HST), and the associated factors, among Australian gay and bisexual men (GBM) was investigated. Methods: An online cross-sectional survey was conducted in Australia during 2012. Of 1410 respondents, 559 non-HIV-positive men answered questions about HST. Results: Men reported reasons for having avoided or delayed HIV testing, most of which could be broadly categorised as: the inconvenience of current testing procedures; concerns about privacy; and a belief that they had not done anything risky. Over one-third of men (39.7%) were aware that HST was available internationally, with 1.6% having accessed HST through online purchase. The majority of men in the study indicated that they would be ‘likely’ (36.5%) or ‘very likely’ (34.3%) to use HST if it was available in Australia. Also, 36.7% indicated they would test partners they met at sex-on-site venues, and 73.2% would test partners with whom they were already acquainted. Nearly half (47.6%) indicated that having the capacity to test themselves at home would likely increase their testing frequency. Men who had engaged in unprotected anal intercourse, who were not gay-identified, and who indicated inconvenience issues with using clinic-based HIV testing were more likely to indicate a willingness to use HST. Many men indicated they would be likely to offer HST to at least some of their sex partners. Conclusion: Many GBM who engage in HIV risk behaviours would appreciate HST, and may be encouraged to test more often, as it may alleviate their concerns about testing.

Additional keywords: barriers to testing, home testing, men who have sex with men, sexual risk.


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