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Lancet HIV. 2016 Jun;3(6):e266-74. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(16)00041-2. Epub 2016 Apr 8.

Promoting male partner HIV testing and safer sexual decision making through secondary distribution of self-tests by HIV-negative female sex workers and women receiving antenatal and post-partum care in Kenya: a cohort study.

Author information

1
Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. Electronic address: harsha@unc.edu.
2
Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
3
RTI International, San Francisco, CA, USA.
4
Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
5
Impact Research and Development Organization, Kisumu, Kenya.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Increased uptake of HIV testing by men in sub-Saharan Africa is essential for the success of combination prevention. Self-testing is an emerging approach with high acceptability, but little evidence exists on the best strategies for test distribution. We assessed an approach of providing multiple self-tests to women at high risk of HIV acquisition to promote partner HIV testing and to facilitate safer sexual decision making.

METHODS:

In this cohort study, HIV-negative women aged 18-39 years were recruited at two sites in Kisumu, Kenya: a health facility with antenatal and post-partum clinics and a drop-in centre for female sex workers. Participants gave informed consent and were instructed on use of oral fluid based rapid HIV tests. Participants enrolled at the health facility received three self-tests and those at the drop-in centre received five self-tests. Structured interviews were conducted with participants at enrolment and over 3 months to determine how self-tests were used. Outcomes included the number of self-tests distributed by participants, the proportion of participants whose sexual partners used a self-test, couples testing, and sexual behaviour after self-testing.

FINDINGS:

Between Jan 14, 2015, and March 13, 2015, 280 participants were enrolled (61 in antenatal care, 117 in post-partum care, and 102 female sex workers); follow-up interviews were completed for 265 (96%). Most participants with primary sexual partners distributed self-tests to partners: 53 (91%) of 58 participants in antenatal care, 91 (86%) of 106 in post-partum care, and 64 (75%) of 85 female sex workers. 82 (81%) of 101 female sex workers distributed more than one self-test to commercial sex clients. Among self-tests distributed to and used by primary sexual partners of participants, couples testing occurred in 27 (51%) of 53 in antenatal care, 62 (68%) of 91 from post-partum care, and 53 (83%) of 64 female sex workers. Among tests received by primary and non-primary sexual partners, two (4%) of 53 tests from participants in antenatal care, two (2%) of 91 in post-partum care, and 41 (14%) of 298 from female sex workers had positive results. Participants reported sexual intercourse with 235 (62%) of 380 sexual partners who tested HIV-negative, compared with eight (18%) of 45 who tested HIV-positive (p<0·0001); condoms were used in all eight intercourse events after positive results compared with 104 (44%) after of negative results (p<0·0018). Four participants reported intimate partner violence as a result of self-test distribution: two in the post-partum care group and two female sex workers. No other adverse events were reported.

INTERPRETATION:

Provision of multiple HIV self-tests to women at high risk of HIV infection was successful in promoting HIV testing among their sexual partners and in facilitating safer sexual decisions. This novel strategy warrants further consideration as countries develop self-testing policies and programmes.

FUNDING:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

PMID:
27240789
PMCID:
PMC5488644
DOI:
10.1016/S2352-3018(16)00041-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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