Expanding access to non-medicalized community-based rapid testing to men who have sex with men: an urgent HIV prevention intervention (the ANRS-DRAG study)

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 16;8(4):e61225. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061225. Print 2013.

Abstract

Background: Little is known about the public health benefits of community-based, non-medicalized rapid HIV testing offers (CBOffer) specifically targeting men who have sex with men (MSM), compared with the standard medicalized HIV testing offer (SMOffer) in France. This study aimed to verify whether such a CBOffer, implemented in voluntary counselling and testing centres, could improve access to less recently HIV-tested MSM who present a risk behaviour profile similar to or higher than MSM tested with the SMOffer.

Method: This multisite study enrolled MSM attending voluntary counselling and testing centres' during opening hours in the SMOffer. CBOffer enrolees voluntarily came to the centres outside of opening hours, following a communication campaign in gay venues. A self-administered questionnaire was used to investigate HIV testing history and sexual behaviours including inconsistent condom use and risk reduction behaviours (in particular, a score of "intentional avoidance" for various at-risk situations was calculated). A mixed logistic regression identified factors associated with access to the CBOffer.

Results: Among the 330 participants, 64% attended the CBOffer. Percentages of inconsistent condom use in both offers were similar (51% CBOffer, 50% SMOffer). In multivariate analyses, those attending the CBOffer had only one or no test in the previous two years, had a lower intentional avoidance score, and met more casual partners in saunas and backrooms than SMOffer enrolees.

Conclusion: This specific rapid CBOffer attracted MSM less recently HIV-tested, who presented similar inconsistent condom use rates to SMOffer enrolees but who exposed themselves more to HIV-associated risks. Increasing entry points for HIV testing using community and non-medicalized tests is a priority to reach MSM who are still excluded.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*

Grant support

The study was supported by the French Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida et les hepatitis virales (ANRS, http://www.anrs.fr). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.