Online self-sampling kits to screen multipartner MSM for HIV and other STIs: participant characteristics and factors associated with kit use in the first 3 months of the MemoDepistages programme, France, 2018.
In 2017, to reduce the proportion of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the undiagnosed HIV population in France (38%), HIV screening is advised each 3 months and STI screening is advised each year in multipartner MSM. Despite the range of testing solutions, over 40% of MSM were not tested for HIV and over 50% for STIs in the past year. Based on international experiments that offer screening solutions via online advertising, the French National Health Agency launched a programme (MemoDepistages) to provide a free self-sampling kit (SSK) for HIV and STIs. This article analyses the sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics of MSM in terms of kit acceptance and sample return.Participants were registered for the programme online after ordering an SSK. The study included men aged over 18 years, living in one of the four selected French regions, and willing to disclose their postal and email address; they had health insurance, acknowledged more than one male partner in the past year, indicated a seronegative or unknown HIV status and were not taking medically prescribed pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs. Samples were collected by users and posted directly to the laboratory. Characteristics associated with kit acceptance and sample return were analysed using logistic regression.Overall, 7158 eligible MSM were offered to participate in the programme, with 3428 ordering the kit (47.9%) and 1948 returning their sample, leading to a return rate of 56.8% and an overall participation rate of 27.2%. Acceptance and return rates were strongly associated with sociodemographic characteristics, mainly education level but not with behavioural characteristics. Non-college graduates had lower acceptance (44.2%) and return rates (47.7%).The programme rapidly recruited a large number of MSM. It removed geographical inequalities related to screening access.