TUPDC0304 - Poster Discussion
Use of a rapid HIV home test to screen potential sexual partners prevents HIV exposure in a high-risk sample of MSM
Presented by Alex Carballo-Diéguez (United States).
A. Carballo-Diéguez, I. Balan, T. Frasca, C. Dolezal, J. Valladares
HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, NYS Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, New York, United States
Background: The FDA is
considering licensing OraQuick, a rapid, oral fluid, HIV antibody test that
provides results in 20 minutes, for over-the-counter sale (“home test” or HT).
We studied whether HIV-uninfected, non-monogamous gay and bisexual men living
in New York City who never or rarely use condoms would test their partners
prior to receptive anal intercourse (RAI) as a harm-reduction approach.
Methods: After baseline
assessment and self-testing in our offices, participants received 16 HT kits to
take home as an option to use with sex partners for three months, after which
they were interviewed.
Results: Of the ethnically
diverse 32 men enrolled, 28 completed all study procedures and 27 used HT kits before intercourse with
approximately 100 partners. Kits were used at participants' and partners' homes
and occasionally in public places. Nine sexual partners were found to be
infected; five of them were unaware of their status. Participants showed
empathy for partners found to be infected; no sexual intercourse took place
after someone's infection was detected. A majority of
participants said that having HT kits and using them shifted their own
perceptions of risk and led to changes in their risk practices. Very few
problems occurred related to HT use. Most participants expressed a strong
desire to continue using the test and frustration that they could not buy it freely.
Testing had high acceptability among ethnic minority participants and ethnic
minority sex partners.
Conclusions: MSM at high risk can use HT
to screen sexual partners, and many partners will agree to take the test. Use of HT results in detection of previously
unknown infections and avoidance of HIV exposure. Making HT available within
networks where high-risk sexual practices are common may be a cost-efficient
and effective way to identify previously undetected cases. HT may become an important harm reduction technology.
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