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HiSTEP: A Single-Arm Pilot Study of a Technology-Assisted HIV Self-testing Intervention in Kampala, Uganda

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Abstract

We developed and pilot tested a 3-month HIV self-testing intervention called HiSTEP (“HIV Self-testing Engagement Project”) among 95 adult (18+ years) at-risk (condomless sex < 3 months) adults in Kampala, Uganda. HiSTEP leverages theoretically-grounded (in the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills model) text messages, a telehealth centre with live support, and “last-mile” HIV self-testing kit delivery to a location chosen by the participant. Nearly 94% of participants were retained at month 3. HIV self-testing was highly acceptable across age and gender groups (94% very satisfied), although older women had slightly lower acceptability ratings (92% very satisfied). Only 13% of participants used HIV self-testing prior to enrollment. Over the 3-month study period, 86% of participants ordered a total of 169 HIV self-testing kits (69% for participant use; 31% for use by others). Findings show that the intervention approach taken in HiSTEP may be particularly valuable for engaging at-risk Ugandan adults in HIV self-testing using a novel technology-assisted promotion and delivery method.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the participants for their time and effort during the study.

Funding

Funding for this project is provided by the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center's Global Health Seed Grant program to support international research.

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Correspondence to Keith J. Horvath.

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Horvath, K.J., Bwanika, J.M., Lammert, S. et al. HiSTEP: A Single-Arm Pilot Study of a Technology-Assisted HIV Self-testing Intervention in Kampala, Uganda. AIDS Behav 26, 935–946 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03449-9

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