BMJ Open

Preferences and access to community-based HIV testing sites among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Côte d’Ivoire



Maxime Inghels, Arsène Kra Kouassi, Serge Niangoran, Anne Bekelynck, Séverine Carilon, Lazare Sika, Mariatou Koné, Christine Danel, Annabel Degrées du Loû, Joseph Larmarange for the research team ANRS 12323 DOD-CI


Objective Measuring access and preferences to Men who have Sex with Men focused community-based HIV testing sites (MSM-CBTS) in Côte d’Ivoire.

Design A respondent-driven sampling telephone survey.

Setting National survey conducted in 2018 in Côte d’Ivoire.

Participants 518 MSM aged over 18 years old.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Knowledge, practices, satisfaction and preferences regarding MSM-CBTS. Factors associated with MSM-CTBS access or knowledge and with HIV testing venue preferences were examined.

Results Only half of the respondents (47%) reported knowing of an MSM-CBTS. Of these, 79% had already attended one. Both knowing of and ever visiting an MSM-CBTS were significantly associated with a higher number of HIV tests performed in the past 12 months and having disclosed sexual orientation to one family member.
In terms of preferences, 37% of respondents said they preferred undifferentiated HIV testing sites (ie, ‘all patients’ HIV testing sites), 34% preferred MSM-CBTS and 29% had no preference.
Those who reported being sexually attracted to women, being bisexual and those who did not know an MSM non-governmental organisation were less likely to prefer MSM-CBTS. MSM who preferred undifferentiated HIV testing sites mentioned the lack of discretion and anonymity of community-based sites and the desire to avoid the gaze of others.

Conclusion Community-based HIV testing is well suited for MSM who identify as homosexual and those close to the MSM community, while maintaining undifferentiated HIV testing is essential for others. Both types of activities need to be maintained and developed. Healthcare professionals in undifferentiated HIV testing sites need to be properly trained in the non-judgemental reception of MSM.