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Innovative Strategy to Offer Online Test and Treat Services for Thai MSM and Transgender Women

Tue 27 Feb 2018 Implementation Sciences

Study period: October 1, 2014–September 30, 2017
Thailand aims to end its AIDS epidemic by 2030 by increasing HIV testing rates to 90% among members of key populations and providing all HIV-positive individuals with antiretroviral therapy, regardless of their CD4 count. Current estimates project that between 2012 and 2016, approximately 40% of new HIV diagnoses in Thailand will be among MSM; however, only 29% of Thai MSM report getting tested for HIV annually, meaning that many MSM living with HIV do not know their status. Thailand urgently needs innovative strategies to engage and retain these ‘hard-to-reach’ MSM in HIV testing and care. In this prospective study, 571 Thai MSM were recruited either online or offline HIV pre-test counseling. Participants who tested positive were then referred to HIV treatment programs. Working in collaboration with Adam’s Love, a web-based health platform for GMT individuals, and two community-based organizations, Service Workers in Group (SWING) Foundation and The Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand (RSAT), the team will compare the effectiveness of online services and support interventions with traditional clinic-based HIV services and a hybrid model that combines elements of both strategies. The study aims to show how innovative technologies such as GMT-targeted websites using online counseling and support can be utilized to increase rates of HIV testing and referrals to prevention and treatment programs.

Study samples:
The study enrolled 571 MSM and TGW participants into one of the three self-selected groups. Group A: Those who received conventional offline HIV counseling and testing at the community-based clinics Group B1: Those who received online HIV pre-test counseling and offline HIV testing at Adam’s Love Offline Clinic (hybrid model) Group B2: Those who received online pre-test counseling, online supervised self-testing and post-test counseling by community health workers (CHWs)

Initial Findings:
The online, supervised, HIV self-testing and counseling provided by CHWs revealed high proportion of MSM and TGW who are first-time HIV testers and high HIV-positive yield, 47.3% and 15.9% respectively. The study signifies the needs of innovating interventions and service delivery models to reach high-risk and hard-to-reach MSM and TGW.


*The study is sponsored by amfAR GMT Implementation Research Grant

Implementation Sciences