Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Roger Bakeman - Chair
Recent advances in HIV antiretroviral therapy and the availability of prophylaxis for opportunistic infections, combined with the opportunity to prevent perinatal HIV infection, underscores the value of early diagnosis of HIV infection. HIV antibody home test kits offer individuals the opportunity to collect a blood sample, send it anonymously to a laboratory, and receive counseling and referral over the phone. Home HIV testing may reduce barriers to testing that have precluded individuals from learning their HIV serostatus, and if seropositive, from taking advantage of efficacious therapeutic and preventive regimens. This study employed a randomized-controlled prospective field trial design to determine if the availability of home testing increased HIV testing relative to traditional counseling and testing among injecting drug users in three HIV prevention/drug treatment contexts; methadone maintenance, hospital-based detoxification, and syringe exchange. Theoretical correlates to HIV testing were also evaluated. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that participants randomized to home testing were 2.2 times more likely than those randomized to traditional counseling and testing to test for HIV antibodies in this study after controlling for demographic, HIV risk, and theoretical variables. No differences were observed between testing methods with regard to obtaining HIV test results. The relationship between HIV testing and test type was moderated by drug treatment context and history of homeless, with home testing resulting in increased testing among methadone participants and persons without a history of homelessness. Analyses of theoretical variables suggested that prevention education stressing the benefits of HIV testing, personal risk of HIV infection, and efficacy of available treatments could increase HIV testing among injecting drug users. Participants randomized to home testing were more satisfied with testing and telephone-based counseling than were those receiving traditional testing and face-to-face counseling. Home testing was associated with increased testing perhaps due to reduced barriers to testing. To further reduce barriers to testing and to increase testing among injecting drug users, consideration should be given to incorporating oral fluid testing and rapid result capability in home test kits. Counseling could be made available as needed, delivered by telephone, and contingent upon the volitional control of the testing consumer.
Bartholow, Bradford Noyes, "A Comparison of Consumer-Controlled and Traditional HIV Counseling and Testing: Implications for Screening and Outreach among Injection Drug Users." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2005.