Those in communities of color be willing to use HIV self-tests but are generally unwilling to pay the current market price for such a test, according to a new study led by Dr. Amy Nunn, associate professor of behavioral and social sciences.
[Photo: Dr. Amy Nunn]
One potential opportunity to expand HIV screening in communities with limited access to HIV screening and care services, particularly in communities of color, is through HIV self-tests. These tests retail for about $40 in pharmacies and provide results in about 20 minutes. However, the acceptability of such tests has not been well explored in communities of color with high HIV infection rates.
The researchers surveyed 1,535 individuals presenting for HIV screening services about the acceptability and willingness to take and pay for an HIV self-test in a predominantly African American neighborhood with 3 percent HIV prevalence. Nearly 90 percent of respondents were willing to use a HIV self-test, 55 percent were willing to pay for the test, but only 23 percent were willing to pay the market price of $40.
Next, the researchers grouped individuals with similar patterns of HIV-risk into four groups: Low risk; concurrent partnerships; incarceration/substance use; and condomless sex/multiple partners. Those in the low risk group were less willing to use a HIV self-test than those in the concurrent partnerships and incarceration/substance use groups, while those in the incarceration/substance use group were less willing to pay for self-tests than those in the concurrent partnerships and condomless sex/multiple partners groups.
The results of this study, published in Journal of the International AIDS Society, indicate that HIV self-tests are overwhelmingly acceptable but cost prohibitive. Subsidizing and implementing HIV self-testing programs in communities with high rates of infection presents a public health opportunity.