LSU Researchers Examine Preferences for Home Based HIV Testing among Heterosexuals at High Risk for HIV


Home based self-administered tests for HIV may be a viable alternative method for decreasing the proportion of people who do not know their HIV status, according to researchers at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at New Orleans School of Public Health – Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program. Despite recent advances in increasing the proportion of people living with HIV who are aware of their status, more efforts are needed to increase HIV testing HIV especially among people who do not test frequently or have never been tested.

As part of the CDC funded National HIV Behavioral Surveillance study  investigators surveyed over 500 heterosexuals with a physical or social connection to areas at high poverty and rates of HIV using respondent driven sampling methods. The results are published in a paper titled “Preferences for Home-Based HIV Testing Among Heterosexuals at Increased Risk for HIV/AIDS: New Orleans, Louisiana, 2013” in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (JAIDS). The study found that the majority (86 percent) of persons surveyed reported that they would use a self-administered HIV test if it were provided at no cost through the mail. Furthermore, more than half (54 percent) of the respondents indicated that they would return the result back to the provider.

Additionally, this study did not support some of the typical critiques of self-administered testing including unwillingness to seek care following a reactive test or inability to correctly interpret the test result. According to the lead author, Dr. William T. Robinson, these findings indicate that new forms of HIV home based testing may represent an important possible avenue to reach populations that have not been historically prioritized by HIV prevention and testing programs.

Co-authors of the study include Drs. Meagan Zarwell and DeAnn Gruber

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