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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

Abstract


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
www.jiasociety.org/index.php/jias/article/view/21234 | http://dx.doi.org/10.7448/IAS.20.1.21234




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

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