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Health Equity in Africa

A randomised controlled trial to increase HIV testing demand among female sex workers in Kenya through announcing the availability of HIV self-testing via text message

A randomised controlled trial to increase HIV testing demand among female sex workers in Kenya through announcing the availability of HIV self-testing via text message

We assessed whether informing female sex workers about the availability of HIV self-testing at clinics in Kenya using text messages would increase HIV testing rates. We selected a sample of 2196 female sex workers registered in an electronic health record system who were irregular HIV testers and randomized them to be sent a text message announcing the availability of (1) HIV self-test kits sent three times (intervention), (2) general HIV testing sent three times (enhanced standard of care [SOC]), or (3) general HIV testing sent one time (traditional SOC). Participants in the intervention arm were significantly more likely to test for HIV during 2-month follow-up compared to those in the enhanced SOC (OR 1.9, pā€‰=ā€‰0.001). There was no difference in HIV testing between those in the enhanced SOC and the traditional SOC arms. Announcing the availability of HIV self-testing via text message increased HIV testing among this high-risk group.

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