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      Self‐testing, communication and information technology to promote HIV diagnosis among young gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Brazil

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          Worldwide, key populations (KP), including gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM), are subject to human rights violations, criminalization, stigma and discrimination 1, 2. These socio‐structural factors are crucial to understand the low HIV testing uptake in many countries, as MSM may fear or may have experienced lack of privacy, confidentiality breaches and healthcare staff mistreatment 3. In Brazil, MSM report a low frequency of HIV testing despite higher estimated HIV prevalence (9.4% among 18 to 24 year olds; 19.8% among those 25 years and older 4), compared with 0.6% among the general population 5. HIV self‐testing (HIVST) is currently recommended by the World Health Organization to help reduce gaps in HIV diagnosis, especially for KP 6. Furthermore, HIVST has been highly accepted and accurate 7, 8, with oral tests being preferred over blood tests 9. With the need to expand HIV diagnosis options for MSM, especially among young MSM, a committed team of governmental, research and non‐governmental organizations in Curitiba, Brazil launched and evaluated a multi‐component implementation science project from February 2015 to February 2017 to improve HIV outcomes for MSM. This project, called A Hora É Agora (The Time is Now) 10, implemented a multi‐pronged approach to increase HIV testing and linkage to care among MSM. The most innovative of the project's components was a web‐based platform and associated mobile application designed to provide HIV prevention information, allow for self‐assessment of risk, and deliver HIVST packages to eligible individuals (males, 18 years old and up, resident in Curitiba, with negative/unknown HIV status) upon request 11. Each HIVST package contained two oral‐fluid test kits, instructions for use and interpretation of HIVST results, a supply of condoms and lubricant, and information on confirmatory testing. Options for receiving the HIVST kits included either home delivery by mail or pick‐up at a government‐sponsored pharmacy. A centerpiece of the project was a communications plan tailoring dynamic visuals with printed and virtual messaging to appeal to the target population; an attractive, online instructional video for HIVST users []; and frequent in‐person outreach events in places where MSM socialize in Curitiba. The project maximized the use of social media to reach out to and to engage young men in HIVST. Facebook and gay online sites such as ManHunt and Grindr played a key role in disseminating HIV testing messages. Mobile tools, such as WhatsApp and other freeware instant messaging applications boosted communications between users and project staff, including health system navigators for linkage to care. Working to ensure outreach to these groups, organizations involved in project implementation partnered with gay and MSM‐friendly establishments such as saunas, movie theatres, cafes, and bars to further disseminate HIVST information. With an initial goal to distribute 1000 test kits per year, the project quickly exceeded all expectations with 7352 HIV self‐test requests over 24 months (Figure 1). Figure 1 Web‐based and mobile platform, HIV self‐testing uptake and men who have sex with men (MSM) testing for the first time. A Hora É Agora Project, Curitiba (Brazil), 2015 to 2017. Beyond the high demand, the project was able to reach a large percentage (31%) of MSM who had never tested before, with those between 18 and 28 years old reporting a higher percentage of first‐time testers (36%), than those 29 years or older (18%). Of the 4356 MSM who completed the online risk survey, 72% were 18 to 28 years old, showing how innovative strategies can address the common challenge of increasing youth access to healthcare 12. From the design phase through programme implementation, MSM's anonymity, privacy and targeted messaging formed the critical pillars of this initiative – confirmed by users’ preferred choice of delivery by mail (58%). Although this option required a valid address, users were able to use any name and any address where they were most comfortable receiving the test kit. To ensure privacy, the HIVST kits were mailed in a plain cardboard box with no indication of its contents. The availability of confirmatory testing and health navigation options for those who self‐reported a positive screening test were critical components of the comprehensive project. Although not mandatory, 34 individuals voluntarily reported a reactive HIVST result on the project website. Understanding HIVST as a screening strategy, 44 sought confirmatory testing in the project‐recommended health unit. Of these, 40 accepted linkage to HIV services support by peers and health system navigators, another component of the project that assisted new patients entering Brazil's decentralized health system and the cascade of care. 1 Improving upon Curitiba's model With essential adjustments to Curitiba's promising web‐based HIVST model, we have recently expanded the project to São Paulo, Brazil, the largest metropolitan area in South America (population 12 million) with the highest concentration of people living with HIV and the majority of new infections in Brazil. The relatively high cost of mail delivery and the lower observed uptake of pharmacy‐based HIVST pick‐ups sparked creative thinking among organizations responsible for expansion to São Paulo. As a result, automated HIVST dispensers will be installed in target areas in both Curitiba and São Paulo, with a focus on venues that are open 24/7 and near gathering points of gay and other MSM. Users requesting HIVST kits via web‐based and mobile platforms will receive a randomly generated, four‐digit code to be entered into strategically placed dispensing machines that distribute tests from individual cabinets. These self‐service dispensers are expected to be a key option for reduced costs and increased ease of access. The project expects to dispense 10,000 tests in São Paulo by September, 2018. Communication and information technologies have enhanced HIVST delivery in Brazil and show promise in attracting young gay and other MSM who value anonymity and privacy in accessing HIV services for diagnosis and subsequent treatment for positive cases. The success of Brazil's web‐based HIVST platform may translate well to other countries that struggle to serve gay and other MSM in the context of societal and self‐stigma, narrowing inequalities in test access. As we embark on the expansion of this programme to São Paulo and beyond, we anticipate learning additional lessons on how to encourage systematic reporting of results, expand access to other key populations, reduce costs, and improve sustainability while achieving epidemic control. Competing interests All authors declare that they have no significant competing financial, professional, or personal interests that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript. Authors’ contributions RBB, ABJ, VGV, MC, and BG participated in study design. RBB, ABJ, NL, MC, RGC and VC were involved in planning and supervision. RBB, VGV, RGC and BG analysed the data. RBB, NL, ACFSS and TB wrote this paper with input from all authors. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript and are responsible for all aspects of this study, thus ensuring its accuracy and integrity. Funding This publication was supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number NU2G GH001152, funded by the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agencies.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing.

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            Attitudes and Acceptability on HIV Self-testing Among Key Populations: A Literature Review

            HIV self-testing (HIVST) is a potential strategy to overcome disparities in access to and uptake of HIV testing, particularly among key populations (KP). A literature review was conducted on the acceptability, values and preferences among KP. Data was analyzed by country income World Bank classification, type of specimen collection, level of support offered and other qualitative aspects. Most studies identified were from high-income countries and among men who have sex with men (MSM) who found HIVST to be acceptable. In general, MSM were interested in HIVST because of its convenient and private nature. However, they had concerns about the lack of counseling, possible user error and accuracy. Data on the values and preferences of other KP groups regarding HIVST is limited. This should be a research priority, as HIVST is likely to become more widely available, including in resource-limited settings. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10461-015-1097-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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              Reliability of HIV rapid diagnostic tests for self-testing compared with testing by health-care workers: a systematic review and meta-analysis

              Summary Background The ability of individuals to use HIV self-tests correctly is debated. To inform the 2016 WHO recommendation on HIV self-testing, we assessed the reliability and performance of HIV rapid diagnostic tests when used by self-testers. Methods In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched PubMed, PopLine, and Embase, conference abstracts, and additional grey literature between Jan 1, 1995, and April 30, 2016, for observational and experimental studies reporting on HIV self-testing performance. We excluded studies evaluating home specimen collection because patients did not interpret their own test results. We extracted data independently, using standardised extraction forms. Outcomes of interest were agreement between self-testers and health-care workers, sensitivity, and specificity. We calculated κ to establish the level of agreement and pooled κ estimates using a random-effects model, by approach (directly assisted or unassisted) and type of specimen (blood or oral fluid). We examined heterogeneity with the I 2 statistic. Findings 25 studies met inclusion criteria (22 to 5662 participants). Quality assessment with QUADAS-2 showed studies had low risk of bias and incomplete reporting in accordance with the STARD checklist. Raw proportion of agreement ranged from 85·4% to 100%, and reported κ ranged from fair (κ 0·277, p<0·001) to almost perfect (κ 0·99, n=25). Pooled κ suggested almost perfect agreement for both types of approaches (directly assisted 0·98, 95% CI 0·96–0·99 and unassisted 0·97, 0·96–0·98; I 2=34·5%, 0–97·8). Excluding two outliers, sensitivity and specificity was higher for blood-based rapid diagnostic tests (4/16) compared with oral fluid rapid diagnostic tests (13/16). The most common error that affected test performance was incorrect specimen collection (oral swab or finger prick). Study limitations included the use of different reference standards and no disaggregation of results by individuals taking antiretrovirals. Interpretation Self-testers can reliably and accurately do HIV rapid diagnostic tests, as compared with trained health-care workers. Errors in performance might be reduced through the improvement of rapid diagnostic tests for self-testing, particularly to make sample collection easier and to simplify instructions for use. Funding The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Unitaid.

                Author and article information

                J Int AIDS Soc
                J Int AIDS Soc
                Journal of the International AIDS Society
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                22 July 2018
                July 2018
                : 21
                : Suppl Suppl 5 , Optimizing the impact of key population programming across the HIV cascade, Guest Editors: R. Cameron Wolf, Trista Bingham, Greg Millett, Rose Wilcher ( doiID: 10.1002/jia2.2018.21.issue-S5 )
                [ 1 ] Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectology (INI) Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) Rio de Janeiro Brazil
                [ 2 ] Division of Global HIV and TB (DGHT) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Country Office in Brasília Brasília Brazil
                [ 3 ] Sérgio Arouca National School of Public Health (ENSP) Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) Rio de Janeiro Brazil
                [ 4 ] Division of Global HIV and TB (DGHT) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta GA USA
                [ 5 ] IST HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Department (DIAHV) Ministry of Health of Brazil Brasília Brazil
                Author notes
                [* ] Corresponding author: Raquel B De Boni, Avenida Brasil, 4365 – LAPCLIN DST/AIDS INI Evandro Chagas, FIOCRUZ., Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro/RJ 21040‐360, Brazil. Tel: +55 (21) 3865 9122. ( raqueldeboni@ )
                © 2018 The Authors. Journal of the International AIDS Society published by John Wiley & sons Ltd on behalf of the International AIDS Society.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Figures: 1, Tables: 0, Pages: 3, Words: 1843
                Funded by: United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
                Award ID: NU2G GH001152
                Funded by: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                Custom metadata
                July 2018
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:version=5.4.3 mode:remove_FC converted:22.07.2018


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