199745 A Qualitative Exploration of Experiences with Self-Sampling for Rectal Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Joshua G. Rosenberger, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Brian Dodge, PhD , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Barbara Van Der Pol, PhD, MPH , Division of Infectious Diseases, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Michael Reece, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Alexis M. Roth, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS , Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Background: While studies have focused on the prevention of HIV transmission through increased STI testing, little is known about potential motivations and barriers associated with specific STI testing methods. We examined aspects of self-sampling for rectal STI among MSM.

Methods: A sample of 75 MSM was recruited from community venues throughout Indianapolis, Indiana. Participants completed semi-structured interviews and were asked to obtain a rectal self-sample in a private restroom within the venues. Those who agreed to provide a sample (n = 68) and those who did not (n = 7) were asked open ended questions about attitudes toward and experiences with rectal self-sampling. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and collaborative coded by the research team using established open coding approaches.

Results: The median age of the White (n = 35), Black (n = 27), and Latino (n = 13) participants was 29 years. Regardless of sexual experience (receptive vs. insertive intercourse), most participants reported that the sampling procedure was relatively painless and physically easy. However, participants also expressed concerns about stigma associated with the nature of the test (i.e., inserting something into the rectum), which required increased levels of privacy and cleanliness not associated with urine samples.

Conclusions: Overall, self-sampling proved to be a feasible and acceptable method of collecting rectal STI samples among MSM. Increased testing for rectal STI among MSM may require addressing the location of sampling and testing sites, existing negative perceptions of rectal self-sampling, and the measures in place to promote privacy and sterility.

Learning Objectives:
upon completion of this session, participants will: 1. review that early diagnosis and treatment of rectal sexually transmitted infections (STI) significantly reduces transmission and risk of HIV acquisition, 2. describe the role that clinics and clinicians play in STI screening due to issues of access, stigma, and disclosure of sexual behaviors, 3. train individuals on self-sampling methods for STI diagnostics may be used to test and treat individuals who may not otherwise be reached by current clinic-based care, 4. examine the issues associated with acceptability, comfortability, and facilitators of/barriers to rectal STI self-sampling among a diverse group of men who have sex with men (MSM), a particularly high risk group, 5. determine whether self-sampling methods may be appropriate, or inappropriate, within their respective communities based on the findings of this study.

Keywords: STD, Screening

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as a research assistant on all aspects of this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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