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“People don’t get tested because of stigma,” said Ivan Dimov of Single Step, the LGBT youth charity behind the project. Going to a testing facility outside of Sofia in a way equates to revealing to that small community that you live in that you are gay.” HIV infections are falling across the world, but eastern Europe is bucking the trend - there, the annual number of new HIV infections has roughly doubled over 20 years.
In Bulgaria, the number of gay and bisexual men being infected is rising by nearly a third year-on-year, showed data from the health ministry presented at a conference last week.
Some critics have pointed out that asking users to test at home leaves them without expert support if they are positive.
There are also data risks for schemes run through social media - Grindr was thrust into a scandal last year when it emerged it had been sharing users’ HIV status data with third-party app performance companies.
After 20 minutes a window on the wand’s handle will display one line if the test is negative and two lines if it is positive.
Grindr users were asked to fill in a survey giving basic details and were then able to order a test sent by post.
The study offers a critical analysis of the legal, cultural, and political challenges to monitoring and regulating the traditional and digital means for distributing and consuming pornography, revealing the complex frameworks, transnational institutional mechanisms and regional responses involved in defining and regulating pornography in the new digital realities.
Published: December 16, 2016 Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany Competing interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist that have influenced the text.
Taskov also raised concerns over cost, saying the self-tests were considerably more expensive than a standard blood test.
Coming out in rural areas is “absolutely impossible” , said Elena Birindzhieva from the LGBT health centre Check Point Sofia.
“There can be physical violence, there can be verbal aggression,” she said.
Almost one in three said they had never been tested for HIV before, and a further quarter had not checked their status in more than a year.
A total of 900 people ordered tests and 332 people reported their results back to Single Step, of whom ten tested positive and were diagnosed with HIV.