Yale University

A Study of Assisted HIV Self-Testing and Linkage to Care among Partners of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Principle Investigator(s):

Funder: National Institute of Mental Health
Project period: 02/15/2022 - 02/14/2023
Grant Type: Research

Abstract Text:

A collaborative team from Yale University's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS and University of Puerto Rico faculty will plan a survey study of assisted HIV self-testing and linkage to care among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The project will assess the feasibility of implementing and evaluating an intervention to provide rapid oral fluid HIV self-test kits (HIVST) to partners of PLHIV and identify ways of linking HIV-positive partners to HIV treatment that address barriers to seeking and remaining in care. In addition, it will assess the acceptability and feasibility of initiating Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV-negative partners.

The project team will:

  1. Engage key stakeholders to assess the feasibility of the survey-based study,
  2. Conduct surveys with 200 PLHIV and 50 HIV service providers in San Juan,
  3. Convene meetings with stakeholder groups to discuss survey results; identify gaps in services, communication needs, perceptions and misconceptions in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic; explore stakeholders’ views on developing a study of assisted HIVST and linkage to PrEP for partners of PLHIV,
  4. Identify implementation strategies for HIVST and linkage to PrEP to be evaluated in future studies.

The project will yield:

  1. A survey instrument to assess knowledge and attitude toward home-based HIVST, linkage to PrEP, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV care
  2. Time-sensitive information about the relevance of the home-based HIVST and linkage to PrEP in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Data on the feasibility and acceptability of home-based HIVST and linkage to PrEP from the perspectives of PLHIV, service providers, and other key stakeholders
  4. Preliminary data to help inform the development of an intervention study to implement assisted HIVST and linkage to PrEP for partners of PLHIV.