Widely accepted HIV self-test program by drug users



02 October 2021

2 minutes to read

Source:

Rose M, et al. Abstract LB11. Presented at: IDWeek; 29 Sep-Oct 3, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Rose declares that she has received a grant or research support from Gilead Sciences. Please see the executive summary for relevant financial information from all other authors.


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According to preliminary results from a study presented to IDWeek, HIV self-test kits were easy to use and widely accepted by people who inject drugs, who said they wanted to know their HIV status and be able to get tested online. permanence.

Michelle rose

“People who inject drugs (PWID) are at significantly increased risk of contracting HIV compared to the general population. Although health departments and syringe service programs (PHCs) have made concerted efforts to reduce the risk of HIV among PWIDs, rates of HIV testing remain very low ”, Michelle Rose, MBA, director of population health at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Ky., told Healio.

Rose M, et al.  Abstract LB11.  Presented at: IDWeek;  29 Sep-Oct  3, 2021 (virtual meeting).
Rose M, et al. Abstract LB11. Presented at: IDWeek; 29 Sep-Oct 3, 2021 (virtual meeting).

“These problems are particularly pronounced in Kentucky, which prompted me to view HIV self-testing as a potential solution,” Rose said. “As part of this effort, I secured funding from the Norton Healthcare Foundation and developed the study protocol with a colleague, Dr. Nicolas Peiper from the University of Louisville, who studied the beneficial effects of other self-test strategies in people who inject drugs.

Rose and colleagues assessed the acceptability of an HIV self-test program using the OraQuick home HIV test (OraSure Technologies). They implemented the program in a Louisville health department that serves people who use drugs.

Between May and June 2021, 230 people participated in the program, of which 87.8% who self-tested at the health service with the help of study staff and 12.2% who tested at home and returned more late.

Overall, around 77% of participants said the self-test kit helped them feel better able to monitor their HIV status compared to standard testing methods. Rose and her colleagues found that the most common reasons for testing were that people wanted to know their status (85%), the test was free (37%), it produced quick results (31%), gave them more privacy (23%). and they had recently engaged in drug use and high-risk sexual behavior (17%).

Almost all (97%) of the participants said the test kits were easy to use, so much so that 33% said they would use them every month, 28% said they would use them every 3 months , 22% said they would use them every 6 months and 17% said they would use them every year.

Since nearly three-quarters of participants said they would take the kits home if services were available outside of the study period, Rose said it is likely they would take them home to their family and friends to use them as well.

“This is the first study of its kind to assess the acceptability of HIV self-testing in PWIDs. About three-quarters said the self-test helped them feel better able to monitor their HIV status compared to standard methods, ”said Rose. “Combined with the other results, our study provides evidence that HIV self-testing is acceptable and feasible. Health services, PHCs and other public health entities should consider incorporating self-testing programs into their HIV prevention and harm reduction strategies.

Rose said the FDA-approved kits can be purchased directly from OraSure Technologies.

“The kits cost around $ 40 each, so we’re hoping that federal agencies and other funders allow spending for kits like naloxone, fentanyl test strips and other prevention tools,” a- she declared.


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