Point-of-Care Testing in Bathhouses: A Narrative Inquiry into the Experience of Receiving a Positive Preliminary HIV Test Result

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With a call to increase the accessibility of HIV testing, point-of-care testing for HIV is being readily adopted, but little attention has been paid to the experiences of people being tested at HIV point-of-care sites. Some testing environments, such as bathhouses, promote testing for HIV in higher-risk groups. In this narrative inquiry study we explored the experiences of people testing positive for HIV through point-of-care while at a bathhouse. Three narrative threads for reconsidering the practice were identified: (a) seeing complexities, understanding testing decisions in relation to time, place, and social context; (b) recognizing the impact and significance of secret and silent stories; and (c) tentative and tension-filled connections to care. It is important to understand testing experiences across time, place, and in diverse social contexts. These experiences are embedded within the larger life histories of people and raise questions about adequate support, follow-up, and counseling.

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