High acceptability and increased HIV testing frequency following introduction of HIV self-testing and network distribution among South African MSM
Lippman et al.
Type of approach
Type of assistance
Fingerstick/whole blood, Oral-fluid
Key population: Men who have sex with men
UNAIDS HIV prevalence (2017)
Longitudinal HIVST study conducted among men who have sex with men between June 2015 and May 2017. Overall, 127 HIV-negative men who have sex with men were provided with up to nine test kits of their choice (oral fluid or blood fingerstick) to use themselves and distribute to their networks. Surveys were completed at three and six months post-enrollment. The surveys elicited information on HIV self-testing experiences, preferences, acceptability, utilization and distribution.
Summary of findings
Among all 127 participants in the study, 91.3% (n=116) used an HIV self-test. Self-testing was preferred over clinic-based testing by over 80% (n=n/a) of participants who had used both clinic testing and self-testing due to privacy, convenience and empowerment. Participants favored finger-stick tests over oral fluid due to trusting the result from a blood test, with 44.9% (n=57) choosing to take oral fluid tests home and 80.3% (n=102) choosing blood. Overall, 66% (n=76) reported distributing tests to their sexual partners, 97% (n=112) reported distributing tests to friends, and 84% (n=97) reported distribution to family members. 32% (n=37) of participants reported testing with someone else present and 24% (n=28) reported testing concurrently.
80% (n=n/a) of participants with a return visit who had used both clinic testing and self-testing stated that for their next HIV test, they would prefer HIVST to clinic-based testing.
Willingness to pay
Willingness to pay details
Linkage to prevention, care and treatment
Linkage to care was recorded for those who tested HIV-positive. Of participants who were known to have seroconverted, 67% (n=4/6) reported linking to care and starting treatment.