Online HIV prevention studies have been limited in their ability to obtain biological specimens to measure study outcomes. We describe the factors associated with willingness of MSM to take a free anonymous home HIV test, and the self-identified barriers to home testing as part of an online prevention study.
Between March-April 2009 we recruited 6163 internet-using self-reported HIV negative MSM, who indicated their willingness to test for HIV infection using a commercially available home collection kit when offered hypothetically no incentive, $10, $25 or $50.
3833 (62%) men reported being very likely and 1236 (20%) men reported being somewhat likely to take a home HIV test offered as part of an online HIV prevention study. When compared to men who were not offered any hypothetical incentive, the odds of being willing to test at home were approximately twice as great for men offered hypothetically $10 (odds ratio (OR), 1.8; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.5–2.2), $25 (OR, 1.8; CI, 1.5–2.2) or $50 (OR, 2.1; CI, 1.8–2.6). Black MSM (OR, 1.3; CI, 1.1–1.7), men who had unprotected anal intercourse in the past 12 months (OR, 1.3; CI, 1.1–1.5), and men who were unaware of their HIV status (OR, 1.2; CI, 1.0–1.4) had increased odds of being willing to test at home.
Home testing offered as part of online HIV prevention research is acceptable, and future research and interventions should focus on addressing self-identified barriers faced by MSM to testing using home collection kits.