Risk, reassurance and routine: a qualitative study of narrative understandings of the potential for HIV self-testing among men who have sex with men in England
Witzel et al.
Type of approach
Type of assistance
Key population: Men who have sex with men
Values and preferences
UNAIDS HIV prevalence (2017)
Six focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with 47 men who have sex with men (MSM) in London, Manchester and Plymouth. One FGD included only MSM who reported higher risk behaviours and one with those who had never tested for HIV. Data were analysed through a thematic framework analysis.
Summary of findings
Three main narratives for testing for HIV were identified: (i) testing in response to a specific risk event; (ii) as reassurance when there was a small amount of doubt or anxiety related to HIV; and (iii) in response to social norms perpetuated through peers, HIV community groups and the medical establishment to test regularly for HIV. HIVST had limited utility for men when testing in response to specific risk events except in the case of significant structural barriers to other testing opportunities. HIVST was considered to have utility when seeking reassurance, and was thought to be very useful when testing to satisfy the needs and expectations of others around regular testing. There was some ambivalence about the incursion of a clinical intervention into the home.
Willingness to pay
Willingness to pay details
Linkage to prevention, care and treatment
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