A Social Media-Based HIV Self-Test Program to Raise Community-Level Serostatus Awareness, Los Angeles
Methods: An advertisement offering free HIV self-test kits was placed on Grindr™, a geosocial networking smartphone application popular with MSM, from April 17 to May 29, 2014, and was visible to users in Los Angeles. Those who clicked on the advertisement were linked to http://freehivselftests.weebly.com/ to indicate their selection for test delivery (via USPS® mail or Walgreens® voucher). Users were invited to participate in a study on testing experiences 2 weeks after test delivery. Eligible study participants were African American or Latino > 18 years old.
Results: In the first 19 days of the campaign, the website received 2,845 first time visitors (average number per day: 149), 218 (7.7%) of whom requested a test. Of those 218, 85 (39.0%) requested a test voucher and 133 (61.0%) requested test delivery by mail. Of the 81 visitors who were interested in and eligible for the study, 32 (39.5%) requested vouchers and 49 (60.5%) requested tests by mail.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate the potential of using modern information and communication technologies to engage hard-to-reach groups such as high-risk MSM in HIV testing. Further data collection will allow us to track kit use, assess testing behaviors, and identify new HIV cases with linkage to care and prevention services. Our methods could be used to assess whether a self-testing promotion system enhances the community-level of serostatus awareness and linkage to care and prevention services.
S. Young, None
J. Kwok, None
J. Klausner, None