Australian Study Finds HIV Home-Based Test Kits Welcomed by Gay and Bisexual Men

March 7, 2017

 < Prev  |  1  |  2 

Telephone Calls

Only 20 telephone calls were made to the study's support phone line. The vast majority (90%) of these calls were requests for more test kits. Participants did not report any adverse effects as a result of using the test kits.

Commenting on the Study

Researchers in New York City reviewed the findings from the Australian study and made several relevant comments on themes evoked by the study.

Social Harms

The New York City researchers noticed that the Australian study did not find any social harms associated with the test kits. However, they cautioned that implementation of HIV testing strategies that in part rely on home-use test kits "must clearly address the potential for social harms, particularly those related to gender and sexuality oppression."


Cost Issues

The New York City researchers made the following statement:

"Ensuring access to regulated and approved self-tests should be a priority for country-level HIV prevention programmes. Yet, because most research has provided free self-tests, the effect of the cost of self-tests on consistent testing is not well understood."

They noted that the cost of the self-test in the U.S. is between US$40 and $60 (between CAN$53 and $80). According to researchers in France, the cost of self-tests is generally between €20 and €40 (this is in the same price range as the cost of the tests in the U.S.).

The New York City researchers added:

"To avoid possible cost barriers, health authorities might need to provide free HIV self-tests to achieve the increased testing frequency [seen in the Australian study]."

Bear in Mind

The Australian researchers found that home-use HIV-test kits were popular among gay and bisexual men in the study as testing rates increased. Thus, perhaps for certain populations, particularly gay and bisexual men in high-income countries, subsidized HIV self-test kits could be part of a strategy to reduce barriers to HIV testing.

The researchers also found that there was no decrease in participants' use of clinic-based HIV testing during the study. This is an important point because researchers in Seattle have produced computer simulations suggesting that the availability of self-testing could potentially lead to more HIV infections because patients would forgo clinic-based testing and rely on home tests, which are not reliable for detecting recent infections (infections that have occurred within three months).



HIV home-based testing: Potential benefits and ongoing concerns -- Prevention in Focus

HIV testing technologies -- fact sheet

The HIV testing process -- fact sheet

HIV Prevention

CATIE statement on the use of antiretroviral treatment (ART) as a highly effective strategy to maintain an undetectable viral load to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) resources

CATIE's prevention resources

HIV, ART and Survival

Impressive gains in survival for older people with HIV but still less than general population -- CATIE News

What reduces survival 10 years after starting ART in North America and Europe? -- TreatmentUpdate 217

Longer life expectancy for HIV-positive people in North America -- TreatmentUpdate 200

Exploring factors linked to longer survival among ART users -- TreatmentUpdate 200

Long-term HIV infection and health-related quality of life -- CATIE News

Swiss researchers investigate drug use and its impact on health and survival -- CATIE News


  1. Jamil MS, Prestage G, Fairley CK, et al. Effect of availability of HIV self-testing on HIV testing frequency in gay and bisexual men at high risk of infection (FORTH): a waiting-list randomised controlled trial. Lancet HIV. 2017; in press.
  2. Frye V, Koblin BA. HIV self-testing in high-risk populations. Lancet HIV. 2017; in press.
  3. Wilson DP, Hoare A, Regan DG, et al. Importance of promoting HIV testing for preventing secondary transmissions: modelling the Australian HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men. Sexual Health. 2009 Mar;6(1):19-33.
  4. Katz DA, Cassels SL, Stekler JD. Replacing clinic-based tests with home-use tests may increase HIV prevalence among Seattle men who have sex with men: evidence from a mathematical model. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2014 Jan;41(1):2-9.
 < Prev  |  1  |  2 

Related Stories

Self-Testing Is on the Map
Benefits and Pitfalls to HIV Home Testing
Basic Questions and Answers About HIV Testing

This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. It is a part of the publication CATIE News. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.