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Who Do You Reach? A Norwegian Pilot Project on HIV Self-Testing that Targeted Men Who Have Sex with Men

Abstract

HIV self-testing reduces barriers associated with other HIV testing services, such as concerns about confidentiality and inconvenience. This article demonstrates who might benefit from this approach to HIV testing by describing the characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) who took interest in a Norwegian pilot project on HIV self-testing. Of the MSM users, 27% reported that they had never been tested for HIV. Not disclosing one’s same-sex sexuality, particularly among non-gay-identified MSM, was associated with a higher probability of never having been tested for HIV and choosing to test with an HIV self-test because of its anonymity. Never having been tested for HIV was also associated with a higher probability of choosing to test with an HIV self-test due to anonymity. The results suggest that the HIV self-tests’ ability to reach MSM who otherwise would not be tested is partly because it is an anonymous HIV testing alternative.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    (1) Less than 3 months ago, (2) between 13 weeks and 6 months ago, (3) between 7 months and 1 year ago, (4) between 13 months and 2 years ago, (5) between more than 2 years and 4 years ago, (6) between more than 4 years and 9 years ago, (7) more than 10 years ago, and (8) I can’t answer (only one respondent in this category, who was excluded).

  2. 2.

    (1) Yes, all close family members know that I have sex with men, (2) Yes, most close family members know that I have sex with men, (3) Yes, a few close family members know that I have sex with men, (4) No, nobody in my family knows that I have sex with men, (5) I don’t know if somebody knows, (6) I don’t have any family/I don’t have any contact with my family, (7) I don’t have sexual relationships with men (responses in this category are excluded).

  3. 3.

    (1) None, (2) 1, (3) 2, (4) 3–4, (5) 5–9, (6) 10–14, (7) 15–19, (8) 20–29, (9) 30–39, (10) 40–49, (11) 50–99, (12) 100–199, (13) 200+.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank two anonymous referees for many helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Vegar Bjørnshagen.

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Bjørnshagen, V., Moseng, B.U. & Ugreninov, E. Who Do You Reach? A Norwegian Pilot Project on HIV Self-Testing that Targeted Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav 24, 568–579 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02484-x

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Keywords

  • MSM
  • HIV self-testing
  • Anonymity
  • Confidentiality
  • Barriers to HIV testing