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Consumer preferences for a community-based rapid HIV point-of care testing service for men who have sex with men in Melbourne.

Consumer preferences for a community-based rapid HIV point-of care testing service for men who have sex with men in Melbourne.

Policy and regulatory support for HIV point-of-care testing (POCT) in Australia has recently emerged. International HIV POCT services for men who have sex with men (MSM) have adopted predominantly community-based and non-physician led models.

Methods: To inform the implementation of a community-based HIV POCT service targeting MSM in Melbourne, HIV negative gay and other MSM completed an online survey in April 2013. We describe service preferences and, after presenting a vignette describing a proposed community-based POCT service model, factors associated self-reported likelihood to seek HIV POCT through the service.

Results: Most participants (N=274) identified as gay (91%) and residing in metropolitan Melbourne (93%). Sexual risk and HIV testing behaviours were broadly similar to other behavioural surveys of gay men; 28% reported recent UAIC and 71% reported their last HIV test within past 12 months. Most participants reported HIV testing at a gay-friendly general practice (35%) or a sexual health clinic (32%). Nearly half the participants (47%) reported they would be ‘very likely’ to attend the service for HIV POCT (a further 36% reported they would be ‘likely’ to attend). Those reporting being ‘very likely’ to attend for a HIV POCT expressed a preference for after-hours weekday testing (OR=2.81; 95%CI=1.63-4.83), perceived their HIV testing frequency as inadequate (OR=2.42; 95%CI=1.33-4.42) and reported their last HIV test at a sexual health clinic compared to a gay-friendly general practice (OR=1.26; 95%CI=1.02-1.55). They also reported insufficient time (OR=2.12; 95%CI=1.11-4.07), difficulty finding convenient appointment times (OR=3.49; 95%CI=1.32-9.17) and returning for test results (OR=2.36; 95%CI=1.37-4.07) as barriers to current HIV testing.

Conclusion: While international experiences offer useful insights, HIV POCT service models in Australia must account for local community preferences. A community-based service model was overwhelmingly supported by participants and was particularly appealing to those reporting previously identified structural service barriers to conventional HIV testing.

Conference: ASHM 2013
Areas of Interest / Categories: Australian Society for HIV 2013

Australian Society for HIV 2013

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