1379. Can an HIVSmart! App-optimized Self-Testing Strategy be Operationalized in Canada?
Session: Poster Abstract Session: HIV Testing
Friday, October 6, 2017
Room: Poster Hall CD
  • Poster_IDWeek_2017_Final.pdf (920.5 kB)
  • Background: Although HIV self-tests are recommended by the WHO, they are not yet approved in Canada. Service delivery gaps such as linkages to counselling and care remain unachieved by offering self-tests without adequate support. In this first Canadian study, we evaluated the feasibility of operationalizing an innovative HIVSmart! app-optimized oral HIV self-testing strategy in men who have sex with men (MSM), presenting at a large sexual health clinic in Montreal.

    Methods: Between July 2016 to February 2017, participants were offered the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, and a tablet installed with the HIVSmart! app, at a private office in the clinic to simulate an unsupervised home environment. With the HIVSmart! app, participants independently performed and interpreted self-tests, and were linked to in-person post-test counselling and care. Self-test results were confirmed by laboratory tests (p24, Western Blot, RNA as needed).

    Results: The mean age of the 451 participants was 34 years (18-73); 85% were well educated (beyond high school, n=371/438); 53% (230/438) were frequent testers (past 6 months), and 13% were on PrEP (52/451). 99% (417/422) of participants found the HIVSmart! app helpful in guiding them through the self-testing procedure; 93% (418/451) of participants interpreted their tests accurately; and 94% (395/419) stated they would recommend the app-optimized self-testing strategy to their partners. Feasibility (completion rate of self-testing) was 93% (419/451), and acceptability of the strategy was high at 99% (451/458). All HIV self-test negative participants (448/451, 100%) were counselled following the self-test. Three participants self-tested positive, were confirmed HIV positive (0.7% prevalence), and were rapidly linked to care with a physician.

    Conclusion: The HIVSmart! app-optimized strategy was feasible, and highly accepted by an educated, frequently testing, urban MSM population of Montréal. With the app, participants were able to interpret their test results accurately and were rapidly linked to care. Innovations like HIVSmart! which engage, aid, and facilitate linkages to care, can be adapted to suit the needs of many populations in Canada and internationally, maximizing global impact through reverse innovation.

    Nitika Pant Pai, MD, MPH, PhD1, Megan Smallwood, MSc2, Laurence Desjardins, Sexologue BA, OPSQ3, Alexandre Goyette, B.Sc. inf4, Anne-Fanny Vassal, MA4 and Réjean Thomas, C.M., C.Q., M.D., D.h.c5, (1)McGill University Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Montreal, QC, Canada, (2)Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University & McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada, (3)Clinique Médicale L'Actuel, Montreal, QC, Canada, (4)Clinique médicale L'Actuel, Montreal, QC, Canada, (5)Clinique médicale l'Actuel, Montreal, QC, Canada


    N. P. Pai, None

    M. Smallwood, None

    L. Desjardins, None

    A. Goyette, None

    A. F. Vassal, None

    R. Thomas, None

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