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