AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 893–899 | Cite as

Distribution of HIV Self-tests by HIV-Positive Men Who Have Sex with Men to Social and Sexual Contacts

  • Laura WesolowskiEmail author
  • Pollyanna Chavez
  • Patrick Sullivan
  • Arin Freeman
  • Akshay Sharma
  • Brian Mustanski
  • A. D. McNaghten
  • Robin MacGowan
Original Paper


HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) were recruited on and to give HIV self-tests to their contacts. Study participants completed a baseline survey, were given two self-tests, and completed a survey 2 months later. Of 133 eligible men, 40 (30%) completed both surveys. Most participants were 30–54 years old and non-Hispanic white. Some had a detectable viral load (n = 4), had condomless anal sex with male partners of negative or unknown status (n = 17), and had met anal sex partners at gay dating websites (n = 23). Of 80 self-tests given to participants, 59 (74%) were distributed, primarily to non-Hispanic white MSM, 30–54 years old who were friends. Participants reported results from 31 distributed tests; 2 sex partners of participants had positive results. Participants indicated these two persons were unaware of their infections. Expanding recruitment websites might reach non-white MSM. Unrecognized infections were identified through online recruitment and self-test distribution via HIV-positive persons.


Self-test HIV Internet Network 


Los hombres VIH positivos que tienen sexo con hombres (HSH) fueron reclutados en y para distribuir la prueba para el auto-diagnóstico del VIH a sus contactos. Los participantes del estudio completaron una encuesta de referencia, se les mando dos pruebas auto-diagnósticas del VIH, y completaron una encuesta dos meses después. De 133 hombres elegibles, 40 (30%) completaron ambas encuestas. La mayoría de los participantes tenían entre 30 y 54 años y eran blancos no hispanos. Algunos tenían una carga viral detectable (n = 4), tuvieron sexo anal sin condón con parejas masculinas de estatus VIH-negativo o desconocido (n = 17) y habían conocido a sus parejas sexuales anales en sitios web de citas gay (n = 23). De las 80 pruebas para el auto-diagnóstico del VIH que se dieron a los participantes, 59 (74%) se distribuyeron, principalmente a HSH blancos no hispanos, de 30-54 años y que eran amigos. Los participantes informaron los resultados de 31 pruebas distribuidas; 2 parejas sexuales de los participantes tuvieron resultados positivos. Los participantes indicaron que estas dos personas desconocían sus infecciones. Expandir los sitios web usados en el reclutamiento podría alcanzar a los HSH no blancos. Infecciones no conocidas se identificaron a través del reclutamiento en sitios web y la distribución de pruebas para el autodiagnóstico a través de personas VIH-positivas.



We thank members of the eSTAMP Study Group, including Laura Gravens, Meredith Noble and Stephen Tregear for their dedication to the success of this project. Sources of support: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded this study.


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Use of trade names is for identification purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.


This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Sullivan reports grants from National Institutes of Health, grants from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, grants from Gilead Sciences and grants from MAC AIDS Fund outside the submitted work.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Wesolowski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pollyanna Chavez
    • 1
  • Patrick Sullivan
    • 2
  • Arin Freeman
    • 1
  • Akshay Sharma
    • 2
    • 3
  • Brian Mustanski
    • 4
  • A. D. McNaghten
    • 2
    • 5
  • Robin MacGowan
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Disease, and Tuberculosis PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Behavior and Biological SciencesUniversity of Michigan School of NursingAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and WellbeingNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  5. 5.Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Disease, and Tuberculosis PreventionAtlantaUSA

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