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A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating Efficacy of Promoting a Home-Based HIV Self-Testing with Online Counseling on Increasing HIV Testing Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

Abstract

We developed an innovative home-based HIV self-testing (HIVST) service that included mailing of a free HIVST kit, and providing online real-time instructions and pre-test/post-test counseling (HIVST-OIC). The present parallel-group and non-blinded randomized controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of promoting HIVST-OIC in increasing HIV testing rate among 430 men who have sex with men (MSM), with access to online live-chat applications in Hong Kong. At month 6, as compared to the control group, the intervention group reported significantly higher prevalence of HIV testing of any type (89.8 vs. 50.7%; relative risk (RR): 1.77; p < 0.001). Among those who have taken up any HIV testing in the last six months, significant between-group difference was found in multiple male sex partnerships (34.2 vs. 47.7%, RR: 0.72; p = 0.021). HIVST-OIC has a strong potential in increasing prevalence of HIV testing and reducing sexual risk behaviors. Implementation research is warranted.

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Funding

This study was funded by the Health and Medical Research Fund, Food and Health Bureau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Project Ref: #11120791).

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Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

ZW participated in designing the protocol, questionnaires and health promotion materials, managing the data collection, analyzing and interpreting the data, reviewing literature, drafting and revising the manuscript. JTFL participated in conceptualizing the study, designing the protocol and questionnaires, provide scientific and management leadership, interpreting the data, drafting and revising the manuscript critically. MI participated in designing of the health promotion materials, managing the data collection. SH participated in conceptualizing the study, providing comments on the study protocol and health promotion materials, and coordinating the data collection. PM, CL and YM participated in conceptualizing the study and providing comments on the study protocol. YK revised the manuscript critically.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph T. F. Lau.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Survey and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Wang, Z., Lau, J.T.F., Ip, M. et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating Efficacy of Promoting a Home-Based HIV Self-Testing with Online Counseling on Increasing HIV Testing Among Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav 22, 190–201 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-017-1887-2

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Keywords

  • Home-based HIV self-testing
  • Online real-time instructions and pre-test/post-test counseling
  • Health promotion
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Men who have sex with men