Background The burden of disease relating to undiagnosed HIV infection is significant in the UK. BHIVA (British HIV Association) recommends population screening in high prevalence areas, expanding outside traditional antenatal/GUM settings. Methods RUClear 2011-12 piloted expanding HIV testing outside traditional settings using home-sampling kits (dry-blood-spot testing) ordered online. Greater Manchester residents (≥age 16) could request testing via an established, online chlamydia testing service (www.ruclear.co.uk). Participant attitudes towards this new service were assessed. Qualitative methods (thematic analysis) were used to analyse free-text data submitted by participants via hard copy questionnaires issued in all testing kits. Results 79.9% (2447/3062) participants completed questionnaires, of which 30.9% (756/2447) provided free-text data. Participants overwhelmingly supported the service, valuing particularly accessibility and convenience, allowing individuals to order tests any time of day and self-sample comfortably at home; avoiding the invasive nature of venipuncture and avoiding the need for face-to-face interaction with health services. The pilot was also clinically and cost-effective. Conclusion Testing via home-sampling kits ordered online (dry-blood-spot testing) was felt to be an acceptable and convenient method for accessing a HIV test. Many individuals undertook HIV testing where they would otherwise not have been tested at all. Expansion of similar services may increase the uptake of HIV testing.
- health services
- public health