Background: In Japan, most new HIV cases are reported amongst men who have sex with men (MSM); thus, there is an urgent need for further widespread testing of MSM. The use of Digital Vending Machines (DVM) in the UK offering HIV test kits targeting MSM show promising results. Digital Vending Machines could be useful to promote and increase the uptake of testing in Japan, although no studies have yet been conducted. We aimed to assess the acceptability and feasibility of distributing HIV test kits using DVMs exploring needs and concerns as well as preferred types of test kits and locations. Methods: Fifty-four individuals participated in workshops and meetings with a further 224 MSM answering a quantitative survey assessing HIV testing and prevention needs. Results: Amongst MSM who had never been tested, 73% showed willingness to purchase tests from DVMs. Responses were broadly positive about DVMs but there were concerns regarding being seen receiving test kits from the machines and linkage to confirmatory testing and appropriate care. Conclusions: Using DVMs to distribute HIV test kits in Japan was found to be both acceptable and feasible and may have the potential to increase access to testing for MSM. Future large-scale evaluation studies are required.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (Research on HIV/AIDS, Health, Labour and Welfare Policy Research Grants [H29-AIDS-ippan-001]), and the University of Brighton, Healthy Futures Research & Enterprise funding awarded to NS.
- Health promotion
- Public health
- Vending Machines