Preliminary results of an evidence-based knowledge transfer program promoting HIV self-testing with real-time online counseling (HIVST-online) for men who have sex with men in Hong Kong
Invited conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings

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AbstractObjectives: HIV testing is an important HIV prevention strategy but under-utilized by MSM in Hong Kong. The WHO strongly recommends HIV self-testing (HIVST) to the MSM population. We have developed an innovative home-based HIVST service (the “HIVST-online”), which includes mailing of free HIVST kits and provides online real-time instructions and pre-test/post-test counseling via online live-chat application to users. It was shown to be highly effective in increasing overall HIV testing rates among MSM by a randomized controlled trial (RCT). This study investigated the impact of HIVST-online in: 1) Prevalence of HIV retesting among MSM who have used this service (ever-users) and 2) uptake of HIVST-online among those who have never used this service (non-users).

Study design: Ever-users and non-users were exposed to different interventions promoting HIVST-online. Uptake of HIVST-online during a 6-month follow-up period was recorded by us objectively.

Participants: Hong Kong Chinese-speaking males aged ≥18 years, self-reported having had anal sex with at least one man in the last six months, and had not been diagnosed as HIV positive. Ever-users of the HIVST-online service were contacted by trained interviewers. Non-users were recruited through outreaching in gay venues, online recruitment and peer referrals. As of July 1st, 2017, a total of 112 ever-users and 60 non-users were invited to use the HIVST-online service.

Interventions: For non-users, they were exposed to the following health promotion components which was shown to be effective in the previous RCT, including:
(1) Viewing an online video promoting HIVST-online and another online video demonstrating the use of HIVST.
(2) Visiting the HIVST-online webpage containing a description of the project, knowledge and benefit of HIVST, and discussion forums sharing positive experiences with HIVST.
(3) Receiving 10-minute brief motivational interviewing (MI) through telephone.

For ever-users, they were exposed to the following components:
(1) A new and modified online promotion video designed for them based on the maintenance theories.
(2) Viewing the same demonstration video and visiting the same webpage.
No MI was given to the ever-users.

All participants were then sent a free oral-fluid HIVST kit by mail. Upon appointment and through live-chat applications, the HIVST administrators who are staff of a local non-governmental organization (NGO) would provide real-time instructions and standard-of-care pre-test/post-test counseling. The administrator, who emphasized that the participants must take up confirmatory HIV testing, would immediately counsel those screened positive.

Preliminary results: Among participants, 81.3% of the ever-users and 63.3% of non-users have taken up HIV self-testing by using the HIVST-online service. A total of 3 HIV positive cases (all were ever-users) were detected (2.7%). They were immediately counseled by the administrator, confirmed positive at the Department of Health and received proper services.

Discussion: HIVST-online is of good potential to increase the coverage of HIV testing and regular HIV testing among MSM. It is feasible to build up a new HIVST service model for local NGOs.

This study is supported by Knowledge Transfer Project Fund (Ref#KPF16ICF10), The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Acceptance Date15/08/2017
All Author(s) ListZixin Wang , Joseph T.F. Lau, Mary Ip, Andrew Chidgey, Winnie W.S. Mak, Yiu Tung Suen, Allison Palmer
Name of ConferenceAIDSImpact 13th International Conference
Start Date of Conference13/11/2017
End Date of Conference15/11/2017
Place of ConferenceCape Town
Country/Region of ConferenceSouth Africa
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-21-05 at 17:08