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Few Aggressive or Violent Incidents are Associated with the Use of HIV Self-tests to Screen Sexual Partners Among Key Populations

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Abstract

Men who have sex with men and transgender women who had multiple sexual partners in the prior 3 months participated in ISUM, a randomized, controlled trial of self- and partner-testing in New York City and San Juan, PR. Only 2% of screened participants were ineligible to enroll due to anticipating they would find it very hard to avoid or handle violence. The intervention group received free rapid HIV self-test kits. During the trial, 114 (88%) of intervention participants who were assessed at follow-up used self-tests with at least one potential partner. Only 6% of participants who asked a partner in person to test reported that at least one of their partners got physically violent, some in the context of sex work. In total, 16 (2%) partners reacted violently. Post-trial, only one participant reported finding it very hard to handle violence, and none found it very hard to avoid potential violence.

Resumen

Hombres que tienen sexo con hombres y mujeres transgénero que habían tenido múltiples parejas sexuales en los tres meses previos participaron en “Te lo enseño”, un ensayo aleatorio controlado del uso del autotest con parejas sexuales en Nueva York y San Juan, PR. Sólo un 2% de los participantes resultó inelegible para inscribirse debido a anticipar que les sería muy difícil evitar o manejar una situación violenta. El grupo de intervención recibió gratis los autotest rápidos para el VIH. Durante el ensayo, 114 (88%) de los individuos asignados a la intervención que fueron evaluados en el seguimiento usaron el autotest con al menos una posible pareja sexual. Sólo un 6% de los participantes que le pidieron en persona a una pareja que se haga el test reportó que al menos una de sus parejas se puso violento a causa del pedido, algunos en el contexto del trabajo sexual. En total, 16 (2%) de las parejas tuvieron una reacción violenta. Después del ensayo, sólo un participante reportó que le fue muy difícil manejar la violencia y ninguno reportó dificultades para evitar la posible violencia.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the study participants, who took the time to complete the survey and interviews to contribute to our knowledge of self-testing.

Funding

This project was supported by a Grant from the NICHD (R01-HD076636; PI: Carballo-Diéguez, PhD). This work was also supported by a Center Grant from the NIMH to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University (P30-MH43520; PI: Remien, PhD). William Brown III was supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) [Grant Numbers R01-LM012355 PI: Schillinger, T15-LM007079 PI: Hripcsak, R01-LM013045 PI: Lyles], the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) [Grant Number P60-MD006902 PI: Bibbins-Domingo], the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) [Grant Number K12-HS026383], and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the NIH [UCSF-CTSI Grant Number KL2-TR001870] during various stages of the research and/or preparation of the article. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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Correspondence to Rebecca Giguere.

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Carballo-Diéguez, A., Giguere, R., Balán, I.C. et al. Few Aggressive or Violent Incidents are Associated with the Use of HIV Self-tests to Screen Sexual Partners Among Key Populations. AIDS Behav 24, 2220–2226 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-020-02809-1

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Keywords

  • HIV self-test
  • MSM
  • Transgender women
  • Violence