518. Formative research to develop HIV self-testing intervention among networks of men in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: A Mixed Methods Approach
Session: Poster Abstract Session: HIV Testing and Diagnosis
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Room: Poster Hall
Background: In sub-Saharan Africa, national patterns of HIV testing uptake indicate that men test for HIV less than women. Innovative strategies such as HIV self-testing have the potential to reach men who do not use current HIV testing services. The purpose of this study was to assess factors associated with HIV self-testing willingness among networks of men in Tanzania and the acceptability of an HIV self-testing intervention. 

Methods: Data are from a midpoint survey of a cluster randomized controlled trial consisting of 989 men recruited from networks called “camps” in Dar es Salaam and 24 qualitative follow-up interviews. Binary logistic regression were conducted to examine factors associated with willingness to self-test. Participants’ characteristics included were demographics, HIV testing history, number of sexual partners, condom use, HIV risk perception, and network influence of two close friends in the camp.  For the qualitative data, we developed a codebook of a priori and emergent themes.  

Results: 51% of the men had not tested for HIV in the past 12 months and 66% of those who had not tested for HIV were interested in self-testing. Logistic regression analyses showed that having a close friend in the camp who encouraged HIV testing was the only factor  associated with men’s willingness to self-test for HIV (OR: 2.07: 95% CI= 1.47 – 2.92). In the qualitative findings, participants provided more information on how their friends influenced them by engaging in conversations about previous HIV testing experience and advising each other to test. Despite the network influence, participants reported they do not test for HIV for several reasons including lack of confidentiality and privacy. Participants believed that self-testing can overcome these barriers but expressed concerns regarding the lack of post-test counseling associated with self-testing. Recommendations for implementation included a campaign to raise awareness about HIV self-testing and provision of pre-and-post-test counseling via mobile cell phones to encourage. 

Conclusion: Findings from this study suggest that HIV self-testing is acceptable and interventions need to promote discussion about HIV testing among networks of men. Addressing men’s concerns by offering post-test counseling and assistance with linkage to care is also necessary.

Donaldson Conserve, PhD, Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, Lusajo Kajula, MA, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of, Thespina Yamanis, PhD, American University, Washington, DC and Suzanne Maman, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Disclosures:

D. Conserve, None

L. Kajula, None

T. Yamanis, None

S. Maman, None

Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. CDT, Wednesday Oct. 26th with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.