AWARENESS AND WILLINGNESS TO PAY FOR HIV SELF-TEST AMONG MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN FROM METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES
HIV self-testing (HIVST) is a new innovation in HIV testing where one can conduct an HIV test and interpret results secretly. However, the kit used for HIVST is not yet available in the Philippine market. This formative study aims to identify the awareness of men who have sex with men (MSM) from Metro Manila, Philippines towards HIVST as well as their willingness to pay for a self-test kit. Two-hundred fifty MSM who received a non-reactive HIV screening test result from a community-based voluntary counseling and testing center were recruited. Results indicated that slightly more than half of the respondents (56%) have heard about HIVST, indicating moderate level of awareness among MSM. The social media and the internet were the most prominent source of awareness about it. Frequent testers and being exclusively or more attracted to the same sex are more likely to be aware of HIVST. Median price one is willing to pay is 500 Pesos (roughly 10 US Dollars) and preference for saliva test that blood was reported. Willingness to pay was not related with any personal characteristic. Over-all, results implicate that efforts to inform MSM about HIVST should be initiated to increase awareness. Should it be available, HIVST services can be optimized if done through saliva test and if provided at low price.
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