Spot Check is an NIH-funded study designed to assess the acceptability and feasibility of using self-collected dried blood spots (DBS) as a way to increase the frequency of HIV testing among young, Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in North Carolina. Participants receive a kit in the mail containing everything they need to prepare a DBS themselves and return it to UNC for testing in our Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)’s Retrovirology Core Laboratory. Unlike with currently available, antibody-based “home” HIV tests, Spot Check is looking for direct evidence of the virus in participants’ blood samples by testing for viral RNA. Because antibodies take weeks to develop after infection, checking for RNA narrows the so-called “window” period and enables much earlier diagnosis of HIV – an advantage for anyone at increased risk of infection.
Eligibility Criteria: HIV-uninfected Black or African-American men who have sex with men between the ages of 18-30.
Principal Investigators: Christopher Hurt, MD