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In Journal of medical Internet research ; h5-index 88.0

BACKGROUND : The World Health Organization recommended HIV self-testing (HIVST) for individuals practicing unsafe sexual behaviors; however, the adherence to HIV testing has not been reported.

OBJECTIVE : In this study, we attempted to determine the adherence to HIVST among men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as the impact factors and potential effects of their adherence.

METHODS : We conducted a longitudinal study among MSM in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. A mobile app system was used to provide the "Mailing rapid test reagent kit" for the HIVST service. The proportion of those who adhered to HIV testing every 3 months was calculated. Logistic regression was used to explore the impact factors related to adherence to HIVST. Rates of HIV infection between MSM who adhered to HIVST and those who did not were compared using Cox proportional hazards regression. Changes of condom use behaviors between the two groups were also compared using the chi-square test.

RESULTS : A total of 1315 MSM who received the HIVST service through the app were included in the study. Overall, 10% of the MSM adhered to HIVST, and the proportion of adhering tests was only 34.9%. Adherence of HIVST was associated with marital status (adjusted odds ratio [OR]unmarried vs married 2.31, 95% CI 1.13-4.71) and the number of HIV tests they received (adjusted OR3 times vs 2 times or below 3.36, 95% CI 2.01-5.63; adjusted OR4 times or above vs 2 times or below 7.30, 95% CI 4.67-11.42). Twenty HIV seroconversions were observed during 1-year follow up. The rate of HIV infection in the adherence group (17.10 per 100 person years, 95% CI 8.80-30.84) was significantly higher than that in the nonadherence group (4.80 per 100 person years, 95% CI 2.77-7.88; adjusted hazard ratio 3.33, 95% CI 1.35-8.20). Those who adhered to HIV testing were more likely to improve condom use behaviors, although the difference was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS : Regular HIV testing is necessary for early detection of HIV infection among MSM. Given the poor adherence, a new internet-based management paradigm for MSM is needed to raise their health awareness to optimize the implementation of HIVST.

Yan Xiangyu, Su Hexuan, Zhang Bo, Li Yongjie, Zhang Lingling, Jia Zhongwei


HIV infection, HIV self-testing, adherence, condom use, men who have sex with men, mobile app