The majority of men who have sex with men (MSM) would prefer face-to-face HIV testing among various testing options, says a new study published in PLoS Medicine.
Researchers asked participants to complete an online questionnaire, where they had to make a choice among various hypothetical HIV testing options including face-to-face testing, remote (self) testing and not opting to test. The study was a collaborative effort of Brighton and Sussex Medical School, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of Southampton, Solent NHS Trust and University College London.
The findings showed that 86 per cent of the participants strongly preferred face-to-face testing by a health care professional over remote testing. Among the remaining 14 per cent, remote testing was viewed as a more desirable option than no testing. This group also had a higher likelihood of never being tested and being non-white. Cost of remote testing likely to be a barrier for some individuals to getting tested.
Professor Carrie Llewellyn, the corresponding author of the study, said: "With more than 4,000 MSM in the UK living with HIV but not yet diagnosed, it’s vital we help them to engage with testing, to ensure prompt treatment and preventing onward infection."