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01.12.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 12/2014

AIDS and Behavior 12/2014

Anticipated and Actual Reactions to Receiving HIV Positive Results Through Self-Testing Among Gay and Bisexual Men

AIDS and Behavior > Ausgabe 12/2014
Omar Martinez, Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Mobolaji Ibitoye, Timothy Frasca, William Brown, Iván Balan


We explored anticipated and actual reactions to receiving HIV positive results through self-testing with a diverse group of 84 gay and bisexual men in New York City. Grounded Theory was used to investigate these reactions in a two-phase study, one hypothetical, followed by a practical phase in which self-tests were distributed and used. Three major themes emerged when participants were asked about their anticipated reactions to an HIV positive self-test result: managing emotional distress, obtaining HIV medical care, and postponing sexual activity. When participants were asked about their anticipated reactions to a partner’s HIV positive self-test result, five themes emerged: provide emotional support; refrain from engaging in sex with casual partner; avoid high-risk sexual activity with both main and casual partners; seek medical services; and obtain a confirmatory test result. Although none of the participants tested positive, seven of their partners did. Participants provided emotional support and linked their partners to support services. The availability of HIV self-testing kits offers potential opportunities to tackle HIV infection among individuals with high-risk practices.

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