Attitudes and Acceptability on HIV Self-testing Among Key Populations: A Literature Review
OBJECTIVE To determine strategies to overcome barriers to HIV testing among persons at risk. METHODS We developed a survey that elicited testing motivators, barriers, and preferences for new strategies among 460 participants at a needle exchange, three sex venues for men who have sex with men, and a sexually transmitted disease clinic. RESULTS Barriers to testing included factors influenced by individual concern (fear and discrimination); by programs, policies, and laws (named reporting and inability to afford treatment); and by counseling and testing strategies (dislike of counseling, anxiety waiting for results, and venipuncture). The largest proportions of participants preferred rapid testing strategies, including clinic-based testing (27%) and home self-testing (20%); roughly equal proportions preferred oral fluid testing (18%), urine testing (17%), and standard blood testing (17%). One percent preferred home specimen collection. Participants who had never tested before were significantly more likely to prefer home self-testing compared with other strategies. Blacks were significantly more likely to prefer urine testing. CONCLUSIONS Strategies for improving acceptance of HIV counseling and testing include information about access to anonymous testing and early treatment. Expanding options for rapid testing, urine testing, and home self-testing; providing alternatives to venipuncture; making pretest counseling optional; and allowing telephone results disclosure may encourage more persons to learn their HIV status.