Opinions about and Experiences with HIV Self Tests of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)

Drawert, F.A. (2011) Opinions about and Experiences with HIV Self Tests of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM).

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Abstract:ABSTRACT Background and Aim: The literature states several advantages as well as disadvantages in relation to HIV self testing. A recent internet survey has shown that, although HIV self tests are illegal in the Netherlands, they are increasingly used by the Dutch population. Still, little is known about the reasons why potential consumers such as men who have sex with men (MSM) use HIV self tests. In order to get an understanding of the reasons to approve or disapprove HIV self tests MSM were asked for their opinions about the test. Moreover, experiences of self test users with HIV self tests were assessed in order to explore whether proclaimed disadvantages from literature are experienced by actual consumers. Participants and Method: This qualitative study extracts a sample of 16 MSM who indicated having done a HIV test within the last three years (6 self test users and 10 conventional users). A semi-structured interview was developed to assess opinions and experiences concerning HIV self tests. Opinions were coded by selecting fragments or sentences from the transcripts, which were related to the components of the Attitude-Social-Influence-Efficacy (ASE) model (i.e. attitude, social influence and self-efficacy). Experiences were coded by merging reoccurring topics. Results: In the attitudinal component, MSM perceived anonymity, autonomy and rapid results as advantages of HIV self tests. Whereas test accuracy, a lack of support and financial costs were perceived as disadvantages. In the social influences component MSM perceived a negative attitude in society towards HIV testing and a positive image towards HIV self testing based on information on the internet. Moreover, some of the participants stated to have received warnings from public health care institutions regarding the use of HIV self tests. In the self efficacy component the majority of participants stated to be convinced to get access to HIV self tests. Exclusively non-users perceived access barriers or received public warnings regarding the use of HIV self tests. Overall, self test users mentioned more advantages and less disadvantages than non-users. While, four out of six users intended to keep using HIV self tests six of ten non-users intended to try self testing. Results concerning actual experiences with HIV self tests demonstrated that all of the self test users experienced self-tests as accurately and user-friendly. None of the users mentioned to lack support while conducting their HIV self tests. Conclusions: The fact that the majority of the participants intend to use HIV self tests and overall positive experiences of actual users demonstrate, that HIV self tests are seen as suitable alternative to conventional HIV tests. HIV self tests can provide HIV diagnoses for people who perceive barriers and stigmatization in the use of conventional tests and can therefore be a powerful tool to increase HIV testing rates. Further consumer specific, quantitative research can provide better insights in consumers´ information needs. Additionally, it is very important to provide appropriate information to health care providers as well as policymakers.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61310
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