Yale University

HIV Oral Testing Infographic Experiment (HOTIE)

Principle Investigator(s):

Funder: National Institute of Mental Health
Project period: 07/11/2017 - 07/10/2018
Grant Type: Pilot Project

Abstract Text:

In the United States, approximately 1.2 million persons are living with HIV. Despite novel pharmacological breakthroughs, comprehensive models of health care via the Affordable Care Act, and targeted HIV testing initiatives, 168,000 persons are still unaware of their HIV serostatus. There is a significant and growing trend of new diagnoses among men who have sex with men ages 18-34. This population has a history of experiencing stigma, fear and discrimination. These challenges are potentially life-threatening since emerging adult populations are unaware of their serostatus and are not actively seeking HIV testing per documented reports. One reason for not getting HIV tested may be the disconnect between health literacy and a person’s ability to understand, describe, and manage their health conditions. This disconnect may result in miscommunications between patients and providers, decrease the urgency to be serostatus aware, and decrease awareness of primary prevention strategies. Because there are limited documented studies that specifically address health literacy and its relationship to HIV self-testing among the men who have sex with men ages 18-34, it is unclear if current HIV testing models, such as in-home testing, are accurately and efficiently being utilized to identify new diagnoses. In this study, we will develop and implement an integrated HIV self-testing strategy based on our foundational research. By doing this, we will learn the essential components necessary to present HIV self-testing instructions in a meaningful, relevant, and comprehensible way. The results of this study have the potential to inform recommendations regarding how HIV in-home testing materials should be worded or visually presented in order to break both literacy and language barriers that affect the accuracy and utilization of self-testing.