A Scoping Review of Patient Preferences for HIV Self-Testing Services in the United States: Implications for Harm Reduction
Received 7 October 2020
Accepted for publication 20 November 2020
Published 2 December 2020 Volume 2020:14 Pages 2365—2375
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen
Mary E Hawk,1– 3 Ashley Chung,4 Stephanie L Creasy,1– 3 James E Egan1– 3
1Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; 2Center for LGBT Health Research, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; 3Evaluation Institute, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; 4Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Correspondence: Mary E Hawk
Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
Purpose: Despite marked progress in the ability to test for, treat, and prevent HIV, the epidemic remains a significant public health concern, especially among key populations including prisoners; sex workers; transgender individuals; gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM); and Black and Latinx MSM. This scoping review was conducted to provide an overview of the current research describing patient preferences for HIVST in the United States to understand what key populations value about HIVST and why they are willing to use it. A targeted search for published literature on patient preferences for HIVST was conducted using Ovid Medline, PsychINFO, and an HIVST research database.
Results: We reviewed 700 abstracts and 139 full texts. We found 19 articles published between January 2014 and April 2020 that included findings related to HIVST preferences. Overall, HIVST was preferred to more traditional testing. Six primary factors emerged as important HIVST values including: 1) convenience, 2) type of test; 3) cost, 4) stigma reduction, 5) risk reduction, and 6) self-control. Linkage to care was also identified as a key factor when considering HIVST as an option. Much of what makes HIVST attractive to individuals is their ability to self-determine how HIVST can be best integrated into their lives as a harm reduction tool for stigma and sexual risk mitigation.
Conclusion: While there is substantial evidence suggesting HIVST is feasible for use and there are aspects of HIVST that are beneficial and preferred over traditional testing approaches, there is a lack of rigorous implementation studies exploring how best to scale up HIVST in community settings. HIVST has the potential to be a powerful biobehavioral HIV prevention and harm reduction tool to empower individuals to engage with testing on their own terms while providing pathways to prevention and care support.
Keywords: HIV, self-testing, HIVST, harm reduction, United States, patient preferences
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]