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PLoS Med. 2016 Nov 8;13(11):e1002166. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002166. eCollection 2016 Nov.

Promoting Partner Testing and Couples Testing through Secondary Distribution of HIV Self-Tests: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Author information

1
Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
2
Impact Research and Development Organization, Kisumu, Kenya.
3
RTI International, San Francisco, California, United States of America.
4
Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
5
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Achieving higher rates of partner HIV testing and couples testing among pregnant and postpartum women in sub-Saharan Africa is essential for the success of combination HIV prevention, including the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. We aimed to determine whether providing multiple HIV self-tests to pregnant and postpartum women for secondary distribution is more effective at promoting partner testing and couples testing than conventional strategies based on invitations to clinic-based testing.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

We conducted a randomized trial in Kisumu, Kenya, between June 11, 2015, and January 15, 2016. Six hundred antenatal and postpartum women aged 18-39 y were randomized to an HIV self-testing (HIVST) group or a comparison group. Participants in the HIVST group were given two oral-fluid-based HIV test kits, instructed on how to use them, and encouraged to distribute a test kit to their male partner or use both kits for testing as a couple. Participants in the comparison group were given an invitation card for clinic-based HIV testing and encouraged to distribute the card to their male partner, a routine practice in many health clinics. The primary outcome was partner testing within 3 mo of enrollment. Among 570 participants analyzed, partner HIV testing was more likely in the HIVST group (90.8%, 258/284) than the comparison group (51.7%, 148/286; difference = 39.1%, 95% CI 32.4% to 45.8%, p < 0.001). Couples testing was also more likely in the HIVST group than the comparison group (75.4% versus 33.2%, difference = 42.1%, 95% CI 34.7% to 49.6%, p < 0.001). No participants reported intimate partner violence due to HIV testing. This study was limited by self-reported outcomes, a common limitation in many studies involving HIVST due to the private manner in which self-tests are meant to be used.

CONCLUSIONS:

Provision of multiple HIV self-tests to women seeking antenatal and postpartum care was successful in promoting partner testing and couples testing. This approach warrants further consideration as countries develop HIVST policies and seek new ways to increase awareness of HIV status among men and promote couples testing.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02386215.

PMID:
27824882
PMCID:
PMC5100966
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pmed.1002166
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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