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Use of a Rapid HIV Home Test to Screen Sexual Partners: An Evaluation of its Possible Use and Relative Risk

Abstract

We estimated the HIV risk reduction that could be attained by using a rapid HIV home test (HT) to screen sexual partners versus using condoms in different proportions of anal intercourse (AI) occasions among men who have sex with men (MSM). Special attention was paid to the role of the window period during which infected cases go undetected. Our results show that if MSM engage in AI without condoms following a non-reactive HT result, they have lower chances of becoming infected by someone still in the window period than by following heuristics and using condoms inconsistently. For MSM who do not use condoms, use of HT as a screening device may be a useful risk reduction strategy. This advantage increases with higher HIV population prevalence. With higher HIV incidence, this strategy will not provide any advantage if condoms are used in as little as one out of four occasions.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the reviewer of this manuscript for providing invaluable recommendations for the mathematical model used in this study. We would also like to thank Christopher S. Murrill and Lucia V. Torian at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Denis Nash at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health for providing estimates of HIV incidence among MSM. The study, Internet Use and HIV Risk among Men in New York City (Frontiers in Prevention), was supported by a grant from NIMH (R01 MH69333, Principal Investigator: Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Ph.D.). This research was also supported by a center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at NY State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University (P30-MH43520; Principal Investigator: Anke A. Ehrhardt, Ph.D.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIMH or the NIH.

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Ventuneac, A., Carballo-Diéguez, A., Leu, CS. et al. Use of a Rapid HIV Home Test to Screen Sexual Partners: An Evaluation of its Possible Use and Relative Risk. AIDS Behav 13, 731–737 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-009-9565-7

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Keywords

  • Serosorting
  • Rapid HIV test
  • Risk reduction for HIV
  • Gay men
  • Men who have sex with men