HIV selftesting study calls for 5,000 more gay and bi men to take part
A major HIV self testing study in England and Wales has successfully reached the halfway milestone in recruiting 5,000 gay and bisexual men and transgender people, writes Justin Harbottle.
Now the SELPHI study is now calling on the community to help reach its target of 10,000 to help combat high levels of undiagnosed HIV.
The trial, run by UCL, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Public Health England, seeks to discover whether providing free HIV self tests to people can reduce the number of gay and bisexual men as well as transgender people who have undiagnosed HIV.
Currently one in eight gay and bisexual men who is living with HIV is unaware, risking their own health and passing the virus onto others.
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), SELPHI is an internet-based study that is being promoted through apps such a Grindr, Hornet and Facebook, with participants signing up through an online survey.
Researchers hope the results of the study will help the NHS decide whether it should provide free HIV self testing kits to help the fight against HIV.
The majority of people who register to join the trial will receive a free HIV self testing kit, with selected participants testing a sample of their blood at home.
Currently most HIV tests are conducted in sexual health clinics. It is thought that some may be more likely to test, and to do so more often, using a self-testing kits because this method is more private, quick and convenient than visiting a clinic.
You can join the trial by filling in their survey or visiting http://www.selphi.org.
|Justin Harbottle is Business and Service Development Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust|