This article is available in: PDF HTML EPUB XML

Feasibility and acceptability of HIV self-testing among pre-exposure prophylaxis users in Kenya

Kenneth Ngure, Renee Heffron, Nelly Mugo, Kerry A. Thomson, Elizabeth Irungu, Njambi Njuguna, Lawrence Mwaniki, Connie Celum, Jared M. Baeten


Introduction: HIV testing is key to the delivery of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): testing HIV-uninfected at-risk persons is the first step for PrEP initiation and ongoing HIV testing is an essential part of PrEP delivery. Thus, novel and cost-effective HIV-testing approaches to streamline delivery of PrEP are urgently needed. Within a demonstration project of PrEP for HIV prevention among high-risk HIV serodiscordant couples in Kenya (the Partners Demonstration Project), we conducted a pilot evaluation of HIV self-testing.

Methods: Clinic visits were scheduled quarterly and included in-clinic HIV testing using fingerstick rapid HIV tests and refills of PrEP prescriptions. HIV oral fluid self-test kits were provided for participants to use in the two-month interval between scheduled quarterly clinic visits. Acceptability of HIV self-testing was assessed using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Results: We found that 222 of 226 (98%) HIV-uninfected persons who were offered accepted self-testing. Nearly all (96.8%) reported that using the self-testing kit was easy. More than half (54.5%) reportedly did not share the HIV results from self-testing with anyone and almost all (98.7%) the participants did not share the HIV self-testing kits with anyone. Many participants reported that HIV self-testing was empowering and reduced anxiety associated with waiting between clinic HIV tests.

Conclusions: HIV self-testing was highly acceptable and may therefore be a feasible strategy to efficiently permit routine HIV testing between PrEP refills.

Keywords: Feasibility; acceptability; HIV; self-testing; PrEP; Kenya

(Published: 10 February 2017)

Ngure K et al. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2017, 20:21234 |

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Journal of the International AIDS Society | eISSN 1758-2652 | Editors-in-Chief: Susan Kippax and Kenneth Mayer

*2016 Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition - a Clarivate Analytics product.

Disclaimer: The Journal of the International AIDS Society is an official journal of and is published by the International AIDS Society. The costs of the Journal of the International AIDS Society are secured by the International AIDS Society. This support does not in any way affect the editorial independency of the Journal of the International AIDS Society. Material published in the journal is entirely independent of the opinion of external sponsors and the society.