Towards the first 90: impact of the national HIV self-test program on case finding and factors associated with linkage to confirmatory diagnosis in Taiwan

Yen Fang Huang, Yu Ching Huang, Yi Chun Lo, Carl Latkin, Hsun Yin Huang, Chia Chi Lee, Li Chern Pan, Hsu Sung Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Being aware of one's HIV-positive status can help reduce unprotected sex and promote early treatment seeking. Therefore, HIV self-test (HIVST) programs may help control the HIV epidemic by case finding. The aims of this study were to determine the effect of HIVST programs on HIV case finding, time to confirmatory diagnosis and factors associated with linkage to confirmatory diagnosis in Taiwan. Methods: The Centers for Disease Control in Taiwan initiated HIVST programs and imported 78,000 self-test kits in 2017 and 2019. Clients paid 7 US dollars for a self-test kit at facilities, vending machines or online. The programs set up an HIVST logistics management system; each kit had a unique barcode for monitoring the programs because purchases were anonymous. When clients provided their test results with photo barcodes online or at HIV/AIDS-designated hospitals, they received full monetary reimbursement. We conducted a quasi-experimental interrupted time-series (ITS) analysis that covered a period of 60 months from 2015 to 2019. We enrolled a retrospective cohort of reported HIV cases with initial positive results from HIVST programs between March 2017 and July 2020. Results: The ITS analysis included data from 10,976 reported HIV cases from 2015 to 2019. The HIVST-positive cohort included 386 reported HIV cases, of whom 99.7% were males and 97% were men who have sex with men (MSM); the median age was 28 years. The ITS analysis showed a positive slope change in the number of reported HIV cases immediately in the beginning implementation month (coefficient: 51.09 in 2017 and 3.62 in 2019), but there was a significant decrease over time. It was a negative slope change by 9.52 cases per month in 2017 and 5.56 cases per month in 2019. In the HIVST-positive cohort, three of five individuals linked to HIV confirmatory diagnosis within 1 month after a positive self-test result, and an early linkage to confirmatory diagnosis was associated with HIVST disclosure (adjusted OR = 6.5; 95% CI: 3.9–10.6). Conclusions: HIVST programs were associated with an increase in HIV case finding. Our findings suggest that countries with a high incidence of HIV among MSM populations should offer multichannel HIVST services.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25897
JournalJournal of the International AIDS Society
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • HIV epidemiology
  • HIV self-test
  • HIV testing
  • intervention
  • men who have sex with men
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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