Implications of HIV Self-Testing for Other Sexually Transmissible Infection Testing and Broader Sexual Health Needs: A Mixed-Methods Study of Gay and Bisexual Men in Australia

David Leitinger, Kathleen Ryan, Anna Lee Wilkinson, Alisa Pedrana, Margaret Hellard, Mark Stoové

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background Although HIV self-tests can support frequent HIV testing, their impact on attending clinics for other sexually transmissible infection (STI) testing and sexual health care is largely unknown. We explored intentions to use HIV self-tests and how this might affect patterns of attending sexual health services among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM) in Victoria, Australia. Methods Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men self-completed an online survey between March 10 and June 10, 2019. Among GBM reporting lifetime HIV testing and intentions to self-test at least once annually, we used logistic regression to identify correlates of intending to replace clinic-based HIV testing with self-tests. Qualitative interviews with purposively selected survey participants undertaken between May and June 2019 explored the implications of self-testing on clinic-based sexual health care. Results Of the 279 survey participants, 79 (29%) reported they would replace most or all clinic-based HIV tests with self-tests, with longer time since last testing for HIV and younger age associated with reporting this outcome in the multivariate analysis. Qualitative interviews revealed different perceived roles for self-tests and clinic-based testing, and the importance of integrating HIV self-tests within broader sexual health routines. Conclusions Although GBM see a distinct role for HIV self-testing, its rollout will likely result in missed opportunities for clinic-based STI testing and education for some GBM, particularly among younger and less-recently tested GBM. Convenient, non-clinic-based approaches to STI testing are needed alongside support platforms to maximize the benefits of HIV self-testing within comprehensive sexual health routines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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