Feasibility and Acceptability of HIV Self-Testing among Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Users in Kenya

April 2017 - In Focus

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Ngure, K., Heffron, R., Mugo, N., et al. Journal of the International AIDS Society (February 2017), 20(1): 21234, doi:10.7448/IAS.20.1.21234.

This mixed-method, prospective study (November 2013–June 2015) examined the feasibility, acceptability, and use of HIV self-testing among HIV-negative individuals who were using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) within the Partners Demonstration Project on HIV prevention among serodiscordant couples. During routine quarterly visits, the 222 participants received fingerstick rapid HIV tests; between visits, they administered an oral self-test kit once monthly. Quantitative and qualitative findings showed that:

  • Of 219 enrollees who had at least one follow-up visit, 93.2 percent reported conducting at least one HIV self-test.
  • Most of the 1,282 kits dispensed (95.6%) were reported used, and most participants (98.7%) reported not sharing the kits. Median follow-up time for enrollees was 11 months.
  • Nearly all participants (96.8%) found the self-testing kit easy or very easy to use; and most (90.8%) reported using it without help. Over half (54.5%) said that they did not share their test results with anyone.

Interviews showed that a main motivator for self-testing was that it reduced the anxiety of the wait for clinic-based testing; also, participants appreciated the convenience of testing at home. The authors concluded that self-testing could support PrEP delivery in similar populations and could save time for both clinicians and clients. They suggested examining self-testing for PrEP users over longer intervals, such as quarterly self-testing with visits every six months. 

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