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    People who use illicit drugs (PWUD) remain at significantly elevated risk for HIV infection and continue to have very low testing rates. HIV self-testing (HIVST) has been shown to be acceptable among many high-risk populations, but less is known about PWUD. From May-June 2021, a HIVST program was implemented at a syringe services program (SSP) in Louisville, Kentucky. PWUD were given the option to privately self-test at the SSP or take the test home and follow-up with study staff. Primary outcomes were acceptability, ease of use, usability, reasons for self-testing, testing location, frequency of future testing, and preference for future testing location. Among 230 study participants, 77% reported high acceptability (i.e., the HIVST kits made them feel much more able to keep track of their HIV status compared to standard testing methods). Virtually all (97.4%) reported the test kits were very easy to use. Problems while using the HIVST kits were rare (range 1.3-3.0%). The most common reasons for testing were a desire to know their status (85.2%), the test was free (37%), and the short duration for results (30.9%). Testing primarily occurred onsite (87.8%). The majority (83%) reported they would use the HIVST kits at least every six months if made available through the health department and would prefer to test at home (71.7%). Multivariate analyses found that awareness of and intention to use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) were significantly associated with high acceptability and testing onsite. Study participants found HIVST to be acceptable and very easy to use. The multivariate findings suggest HIVST interventions should be packaged with PrEP interventions and harm reduction programs. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Nicholas C Peiper, Steve Shamblen, Adam Gilbertson, Greg Guest, Michael Kopp, Laura Guy, Michelle R Rose. Acceptability of a HIV self-testing program among people who use illicit drugs. The International journal on drug policy. 2022 May;103:103613

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    PMID: 35255391

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