AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 1267–1276 | Cite as

Short Message Service (SMS) Surveys Assessing Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Adherence and Sexual Behavior are Highly Acceptable Among HIV-Uninfected Members of Serodiscordant Couples in East Africa: A Mixed Methods Study

  • Timothy R. MuwongeEmail author
  • Kenneth Ngure
  • Elly Katabira
  • Nelly Mugo
  • Grace Kimemia
  • Bridget Frances O’Rourke Burns
  • Nicholas Musinguzi
  • Felix Bambia
  • Jared M. Baeten
  • Renee Heffron
  • Jessica E. Haberer
  • the Partners Mobile Adherence to PrEP (PMAP) Team
Original Paper


Short message service (SMS) surveys are a promising data collection method and were used to measure sexual behavior and adherence to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among HIV-uninfected partners of serodiscordant couples enrolled in a sub-study of the Partners Demonstration Project (an open-label study of integrated antiretroviral therapy and PrEP for HIV prevention in Kenya and Uganda). Questionnaires were completed by 142 participants after study exit. Median age was 29 years; 69% were male. Ninety-five percent (95%) felt SMS surveys were “easy” or “very easy”, 74% reported no challenges, and 72% preferred SMS surveys over in-person study visits. Qualitative interviews involving 32 participants confirmed the ease of responding to SMS surveys. Participants also indicated that surveys acted as reminders for adherence to PrEP and condom use and were experienced as support from the study. SMS surveys were generally found to be acceptable in this population and provided real-time context of PrEP use.


Adherence SMS PrEP Serodiscordant couples East Africa 


Las encuestas del servicio de mensajes cortos (SMS) son un método de recopilación de datos prometedor y se utilizaron para medir el comportamiento sexual y la adherencia a la profilaxis previa a la exposición al VIH (PrEP) entre los socios VIH-no infectados de las parejas serodiscordantes inscritas en un subestudio de la Proyecto de Demostración de Partners (estudio de etiqueta abierta de la terapia antirretroviral integrada y PrEP para prevention del VIH en Kenia y Uganda). Los cuestionarios fueron completados por 142 participantes después de la salida del estudio. La edad mediana era 29 años; 69% eran varones. El 95 por ciento (95%) consideró que las encuestas de SMS eran “fáciles” o “muy fáciles”, 74% no reportaron ningún dificultades y 72% prefirieron encuestas de SMS sobre visitas de estudio en persona. Las entrevistas cualitativas que involucraron a 32 participantes confirmaron la facilidad de responder a encuestas SMS. Los participantes también indicaron que las encuestas actuaron como recordatorios para la adherencia a la preparación y el uso del condón y se experimentaron como apoyo del estudio. Por lo general, se encontró que las encuestas por SMS eran aceptables en esta población y proporcionaban un contexto en tiempo real de uso de PrEP.



We acknowledge the research participants, the partners demonstration project team, the Partners Mobile Adherence to PrEP (PMAP) team, the funders of the Partners Demonstration Project (National Institute of Mental Health of the US National Institutes of Health grant R01MH095507, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant OPP47674, OPP1056051, and through the generous support of the American people through the US Agency for International Development cooperative agreement AID-OAA-A-12-00023), the funders of the PMAP sub-study (National Institute of Mental Health Grant R01MH098744) and Gilead Sciences that donated PrEP medication.

PMAP Team: Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (Jessica Haberer [Principal Investigator], David Bangsberg); University of Washington (Jared Baeten, Connie Celum, Deborah Donnell, Renee Heffron, Lara Kidoguchi, Kathleen Thomas); Thika, Kenya site (Nelly Mugo, Kenneth Ngure, Njambi Njuguna, Gakuo Maina, Edwin Mugo, Lawrence Mwaniki, Grace Kimemia, Peter Mogere, Sarah Mbaire, Peter Mwaniki, John Njoroge, Snaidah Ongachi, Linnet Makena, Peter Michira, Simon Mburu.; Kampala, Uganda site (Elly Katabira, Andrew Mujugira, Timothy Muwonge, Nulu Bulya, Felix Bambia, Ronald Kiranda, Betty Nankya, Agnes Nakyanzi, Charles Brown, Alice Ssebbaale, Edith Nakku Joloba, Robert Kikulwe Nyanzi, James Mutyaba, Miriam Nampala, Florence Nambi, Emma Okwero, Samuel Kirimunda, Diego Izizinga, Joseph Kibuuka, Carol Musubika.


The funders had no role in data collection or analysis and the results and interpretation presented here do not necessarily reflect the views of the study funders.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study protocol, informed consent forms, recruitment materials, and other requested documents and any subsequent modifications were reviewed and approved by the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology and the Kenya National Council of Science and Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Washington.

Supplementary material

10461_2018_2326_MOESM1_ESM.docx (37 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy R. Muwonge
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kenneth Ngure
    • 2
  • Elly Katabira
    • 1
  • Nelly Mugo
    • 3
    • 4
  • Grace Kimemia
    • 3
  • Bridget Frances O’Rourke Burns
    • 5
  • Nicholas Musinguzi
    • 6
  • Felix Bambia
    • 1
  • Jared M. Baeten
    • 4
    • 7
    • 8
  • Renee Heffron
    • 4
    • 8
  • Jessica E. Haberer
    • 5
    • 9
  • the Partners Mobile Adherence to PrEP (PMAP) Team
  1. 1.Infectious Disease Institute, Makerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  2. 2.School of Public HealthJomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and TechnologyNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Centers for Clinical ResearchKenya Medical Research InstituteNairobiKenya
  4. 4.Department of Global HealthUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Massachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  6. 6.Global Health CollaborativeMbarara University of Science and TechnologyMbararaUganda
  7. 7.Department of MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  8. 8.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  9. 9.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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