BHOC Launches National Home Testing Program
April 1, 2020
Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC), in partnership with Emory University and NASTAD, has developed TakeMeHome, a National Home Testing program, providing state and local health departments with a one-stop shop to offer confidential HIV and STD test kits and have them delivered, securely and discreetly, directly to their constituents. In addition to providing an additional option for individuals who haven’t accessed routine sexual health testing, we believe that this resource can help reduce the impact of Coronavirus on HIV services by providing targeted testing with a minimum impact on staff and resources.
During our pilot phase, which began on March 31, TakeMeHome will target MSM who use dating apps and who have not been tested in the last year. However, we anticipate that this program will be expanded to target other populations in the near future.
The 2019 American Men’s Internet Survey found that 22% of MSM who use dating apps reported that they had never tested for HIV.
There is significant customer demand for home tests among MSM who use dating apps: 77% of survey respondents wanted dating apps to add this feature. Easy access to home tests was even more popular (83%) among those who had never tested.
Home testing is not meant to replace clinic-based testing. However, to reach individuals who are not testing consistently (or at all), and may not be accessing current testing options, home testing is a very effective way to reach those who aren’t getting tested. TakeMeHome is designed to make ordering home test kits as simple as possible for health departments.
Key features include:
• Promotion, including embedded links by popular dating apps (Grindr, SCRUFF, Jack’d, Adam4Adam)
• Easy-to-use ordering web platform
• Oral swab test kits
• Ability to customize jurisdiction-specific information to be included in packet
• Discounted cost of $44 per test, which includes promotion through dating apps, test kits, delivery/fulfillment, and participant survey data. Payment is made through NASTAD dues.
• Easy to participate (no need to hire staff, deal with inventory or shipping, develop contracts, etc.)
• Next five jurisdictions to sign up will be offered 48 kits for $720.00 (a savings of $1392).
Upcoming features, Summer 2020:
• STI testing (including Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea (3-site testing), Hep C, Hep B, and more)
• HIV dried blood spot testing
• Administrative portal for jurisdictions to tailor eligibility criteria, number of kits available to each user, and more
• Expansion to additional populations
• Spanish translation of site and collateral materials