ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0273.v1
Online: 9 June 2021 (22:14:21 CEST)
Background: HIV self-testing (HIVST) is one of the recommended approaches for HIV testing services, particularly for helping reach populations who would not normally access facility-based HIV testing. HIVST must be tailored to different populations to ensure uptake. Objective: The main objective of this study was to develop an acceptable HIVST delivery strategy to help improve urban men’s engagement with HIV services. Methods: We invited key stakeholders for urban men’s HIV services to participate in a co-creation workshop aimed at developing HIVST delivery approaches for urban men, using eThekwini municipality as a study setting. We conducted purposive sampling to include health care users and health care providers, representing a range of views across the public sector and voluntary sector. We employed the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) method for data collection. The NGT workshop was conducted in two consecutive phases: phase one was focused on determining barriers for men’s engagement with the current/facility-based HIV testing services; phase two was aimed at determining HIVST delivery strategies. We used the results of the NGT to design a tailored HIVST strategy for urban men in eThekwini District. Results: Participants identified the following psychological factors as the most important barriers to uptake of HIV testing services by urban men: stigma, ignorance about the importance of testing and testing process as well as fear of positive test results. Key stakeholders suggested internal motivation strategies as a potentially effective approach to support HIVST delivery strategy. Guided by the NGT results, we designed a HIVST delivery strategy that is supported by a risk communication approach Conclusion: We designed an evidence-based risk communication mobile health (mHealth) strategy coupled with SARS COV-2 self-testing tailored to improve men’s uptake of HIVST. A follow-up study to evaluate the feasibility of implementing these approaches is recommended.