Most qualitative research to date on HIV self-testing (HIVST) has been devoted to questions related to perceptions of HIVST among various groups of men who have sex with men (MSM) in different countries. However, little is known about HIV testing patterns of HIVST testers. Thrity-two Russian MSM, 10 with HIV and 22 without, from five cities were interviewed about their HIV testing and risk behaviors. Five types of testers “maintenance testers,” “risk-based testers,” “convenience testers,” “test avoiders,” and “HIVST-only testers” were identified in the study. Three dimensions of HIV testing patterns-testing motive, frequency, and mode-were proposed to improve existing typifications. Almost all informants practiced condomless sex with their primary partners; HIV testing or condom negotiation in primary partnerships before proceeding to condomless sex was rare. Increase in HIVST availability at no cost for MSM and targeted prevention efforts for MSM on both individual and dyadic level are urgently needed.
HIV testing patterns among recently self-tested Russian men who have sex with men: A qualitative study