Background: A variety of strategies have been used to reach men with HIV self-testing services, including social network-based HIV self-test kits distribution. However, few studies have assessed men’s comfort to distribute to or receive HIV self-test kits from close male friends within the same social network. In this study, we assessed men’s comfort to distribute to and/or receive HIV self-test kits from close male friends and associated factors among men who socialize in networks locally referred to as “camps” in Tanzania. Methods: Data are from the baseline survey of a cluster-randomized controlled trial conducted in June 2019 with 18 social networks or “camps” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Participants were 18-year-old or older male camp members who were HIV-negative at the time of enrolment. We used the Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) to assess factors associated with being comfortable to distribute to and/or receive HIV self-test kits from close male members within one’s social network. Results: Of 505 participants, 67.9% (n = 342) reported being comfortable to distribute to while 68.2% (n = 344) were comfortable to receive HIV self-test kits from their close male friends. Ever having heard about HIV self-testing (Adjusted Prevalence Ratio (Adj. PR): 1.6; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.3, 1.9), willingness to self-test for HIV in front of a sexual partner (Adj. PR: 3.0; 95%CI: 1.5, 6.1) and exposure to peer-led HIV self-testing education and promotion (Adj. PR: 1.4; 95%CI: 1.2, 1.7) were significantly associated with being comfortable to distribute HIV self-test kits to close male members within one’s social network. Similar results were observed for being comfortable to receive HIV self-test kits from a close male friend within one’s social network. Conclusions: Overall, these findings suggest that distribution of HIV self-test kits through close male friends could improve the proportion of men reached with HIV self-testing services and improve HIV testing rates in this population where uptake remains low. However, additional promotional strategies such as peer-led HIV self-testing education are needed to raise awareness and increase the proportion of men who are comfortable to receive and/or distribute HIV self-testing kits.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for AIDS Research (P30AI50410), National Institute of Mental Health (Grant #R00MH110343: PI: DFC) and Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) (Grant T37-MD001448) from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, USA. DFC was also supported by the HIV Dissemination Science Training Program for Underrepresented Investigators grant award #R25MH080665, and the BSM PRIDE program #R25HL105444. JKBM was supported by grant# FIC D43TW010540 (PI: Riley LW) from the National Institutes of Health Global Health Equity Scholars Fellowship Program and grant# RF-1570024-F-MATOV from the Africa Research Excellence Fund. AH was supported by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the Grace Jordan McFadden Professor’s Program at the University of South Carolina. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
The STEP project was a five-year study funded by the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for AIDS Research and the National Institute of Mental Health that was developed as part of a collaboration between the University of South Carolina, Jhpiego Tanzania, Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), UNC at Chapel Hill, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied University, EngenderHealth, and the National AIDS Control Programme of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC).
© 2021, The Author(s).
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- HIV self-testing
- Social networks