Community-based HIV testing in a non-medical setting for men who have sex with men (MSM), results of a pilot project: ANRS-COM'TEST

Published: July 18, 2010

Community-based HIV testing in a non-medical setting for men who have sex with men (MSM), results of a pilot project: ANRS-COM’TEST

K. Champenois1,2, J.-M. Le Gall3, S. Vermoesen4, D. Rojas Castro3, S. Jean5, C. Martin6, L. Rios7, O. Benoit8, C. Jacquemin4, B. Spire3,9, Y. Yazdanpanah1,10

1Faculté de Médecine de Lille, EA2694, Lille, France, 2LEM CNR UMR8179, Lille, France, 3AIDES France, Pantin, France, 4CHRU de Lille, Centre d’Investigation Clinique, Lille, France, 5AIDES Hérault, Montpellier, France, 6AIDES Nord Pas-de-Calais, Lille, France, 7AIDES Gironde, Bordeaux, France, 8AIDES Paris, Paris, France, 9INSERM UMR912, Marseille, France, 10CH Tourcoing, Service Universitaire des Maladies Infectieuses et du Voyageur, Tourcoing, France

Background: Shortening the time between HIV infection and HIV testing is a major public health goal, especially among highly exposed populations. The objective of the ANRS-COM’TEST was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a community-based rapid HIV testing in a non-medical setting targeting MSMs.

Methods: ANRS-COM’TEST offers counseling and rapid HIV testing in four French cities. Sessions are exclusively staffed by the French association AIDES activists. The VIKIA® HIV½, BioMérieux kit is used (results ≤30 minutes). Men with positive tests are referred to HIV clinical centers for confirmatory HIV blood tests and linkage to care. This project is prospectively evaluated using two self-completed questionnaires: one pre-test assessing demographics, previous HIV-testing history and sexual behavior, and one post-test questionnaire assessing participants satisfaction.

Results: From 02/2009 to 12/2009, 342 MSMs were tested, 21 (6%) of whom were tested twice. The median age was 31 years old [IQR, 25-38]. In the last 6 months, 110 (32%) reported unprotected anal intercourse with a casual partner. Ninety-eight (29%) were never tested in the last two years, among whom 27 (28%) had unprotected anal intercourse. Ten patients were tested positive (3%), all of whom were confirmed to have HIV and linked to care. Among the 328 post-test questionnaires collected, 90% declared to be “very satisfied” by the testing strategy, 76% (243/320 respondents) would “certainly recommend” it to their friends and 52% (163/311 respondents tested negative) would “certainly choose it in the future” to be tested. The main reason for non satisfaction in 31 participants not “very satisfied” (10%) was the time spent for testing program (2 hours including 30-45 minutes for questionnaires).

Conclusions: Community-based HIV rapid testing program in a non-medical setting is feasible. It reaches high-risk MSMs and can increase choice for this population in addition to other testing strategies.

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