Feasibility of recruiting men who have sex with men and transgender people online to a randomised controlled trial evaluating HIV self-testing: results from the SELPHI pilot
Witzel et al.
Type of approach
Type of assistance
Key population: Men who have sex with men and transgender women
UNAIDS HIV prevalence (2017)
SELPHI is an online randomised controlled trial evaluating whether HIV self-testing (HIVST) increases rates of HIV diagnoses. Eligibility includes men who have sex with men and transgender people in England and Wales, 16 years or older, without diagnosed HIV and reporting lifetime anal sex. Individuals, recruited through geo-location hook-up apps and social media, first registered with SELPHI then completed an online survey before being randomised to HIVST or no HIVST study groups. Participant demographic and behavioural characteristics were quantitatively analysed using chi-squared tests, permutation tests for small values, or one-way ANOVA.
Summary of findings
76% (1,013/1,324) of registered individuals were enrolled and randomised. The rate of registration conversion, proportion randomised and the cost per randomisation varied by advertising source, as did the mean age and gender. 99% (n=n/a) self-defined as cisgender, 89% (n=n/a) gay, and 89% (n=n/a) as white. The majority (59%, n=n/a) were highly educated, reported condomless anal intercourse in the preceding 3 months (70%, n=n/a), and had tested for HIV in the preceding 12 months (64%, n=n/a). However, 22% (n=n/a) had not tested in the preceding 12 months and 14% (n=n/a) had never tested. 58% (n=80) who had never tested reported condomless anal intercourse in preceding 3 months. Online recruitment to an RCT delivering HIVST is feasible, though recruiting transgender women was difficult.
Willingness to pay
Willingness to pay details
Linkage to prevention, care and treatment