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Acceptability and Feasibility of HIV Self-Testing Among Transgender Women in San Francisco: A Mixed Methods Pilot Study.


An estimated one in four transgender women (trans women) in the U.S. are infected with HIV. Rates of HIV testing are not commensurate with their risk, necessitating alternative strategies for early detection and care. We explored the feasibility and acceptability of HIV self-testing (HIVST) with 50 HIV-negative adult trans women in San Francisco. Participants received three self-test kits to perform once a month. Acceptability and behavioral surveys were collected as were 11 in-depth interviews (IDIs). Among 50 participants, 44 reported utilizing HIVST at least once; 94 % reported the test easy to use; 93 % said results were easy to read; and 91 % would recommend it to others. Most participants (68 %) preferred HIVST to clinic-based testing, although price was a key barrier to uptake. IDIs revealed a tension between desires for privacy versus support found at testing sites. HIVST for trans women was acceptable and feasible and requires careful consideration of linkage to support services.

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