Publications by authors named "Megan Francoeur"

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At-home HIV self-testing during COVID: implementing the GetaKit project in Ottawa.

Can J Public Health 2021 08 17;112(4):587-594. Epub 2021 May 17.

Infectious Diseases and Sexual Health Services, Ottawa Public Health, Ottawa, Canada.

Setting: In March 2020, COVID-19 shuttered access to many healthcare settings offering HIV testing and there is no licensed HIV self-test in Canada.

Intervention: A team of nurses at the University of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health and staff from the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) obtained Health Canada's Special Access approval on April 23, 2020 to distribute bioLytical's INSTI HIV self-test in Ottawa; we received REB approval on May 15, 2020. As of July 20, 2020, eligible participants (≥18 years old, HIV-negative, not on PrEP, not in an HIV vaccine trial, living in Ottawa, no bleeding disorders) could register via to order kits.

Outcomes: In the first 6 weeks, 637 persons completed our eligibility screener; 43.3% (n = 276) were eligible. Of eligible participants, 203 completed a baseline survey and 182 ordered a test. These 203 participants were an average of 31 years old, 72.3% were white, 60.4% were cis-male, and 55% self-identified as gay. Seventy-one percent (n = 144) belonged to a priority group for HIV testing. We have results for 70.9% (n = 129/182) of participants who ordered a kit: none were positive, 104 were negative, 22 were invalid, and 2 "preferred not to say"; 1 participant reported an unreadiness to test.

Implications: Our results show that HIV self-testing is a pandemic-friendly strategy to help ensure access to sexual health services among persons who are good candidates for HIV testing. It is unsurprising that no one tested positive for HIV thus far, given the 0.08% positivity rate for HIV testing in Ottawa. As such, we advocate for scale-up of HIV self-testing in Canada.
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August 2021