Home sampling for sexually transmitted infections and HIV in men who have sex with men: a prospective observational study

PLoS One. 2015 Apr 7;10(4):e0120810. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120810. eCollection 2015.


To determine uptake of home sampling kit (HSK) for STI/HIV compared to clinic-based testing, whether the availability of HSK would increase STI testing rates amongst HIV infected MSM, and those attending a community-based HIV testing clinic compared to historical control. Prospective observational study in three facilities providing STI/HIV testing services in Brighton, UK was conducted. Adult MSM attending/contacting a GUM clinic requesting an STI screen (group 1), HIV infected MSM attending routine outpatient clinic (group 2), and MSM attending a community-based rapid HIV testing service (group 3) were eligible. Participants were required to have no symptomatology consistent with STI and known to be immune to hepatitis A and B (group 1). Eligible men were offered a HSK to obtain self-collected specimens as an alternative to routine testing. HSK uptake compared to conventional clinic-based STI/HIV testing in group 1, increase in STI testing rates due to availability of HSK compared to historical controls in group 2 and 3, and HSK return rates in all settings were calculated. Among the 128 eligible men in group 1, HSK acceptance was higher (62.5% (95% CI: 53.5-70.9)) compared to GUM clinic-based testing (37.5% (95% CI: 29.1-46.5)), (p = 0.0004). Two thirds of eligible MSM offered an HSK in all three groups accepted it, but HSK return rates varied (highest in group 1, 77.5%, lowest in group 3, 16%). HSK for HIV testing was acceptable to 81% of men in group 1. Compared to historical controls, availability of HSK increased the proportion of MSM testing for STIs in group 2 but not in group 3. HSK for STI/HIV offers an alternative to conventional clinic-based testing for MSM seeking STI screening. It significantly increases STI testing uptake in HIV infected MSM. HSK could be considered as an adjunct to clinic-based services to further improve STI/HIV testing in MSM.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / psychology
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Young Adult