Effect of door-to-door distribution of HIV self-testing kits on HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy initiation: a cluster randomised trial in Malawi

Indravudh, Pitchaya P, Fielding, Katherine, Chilongosi, Richard, Nzawa, Rebecca, Neuman, Melissa, Kumwenda, Moses K, Nyirenda, Rose, Johnson, Cheryl C, Taegtmeyer, Miriam, Desmond, Nicola ORCID: 0000-0002-2874-8569
et al (show 2 more authors) (2021) Effect of door-to-door distribution of HIV self-testing kits on HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy initiation: a cluster randomised trial in Malawi. BMJ GLOBAL HEALTH, 6 (SUPPL_). e004269-.

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<h4>Introduction</h4>Reaching high coverage of HIV testing remains essential for HIV diagnosis, treatment and prevention. We evaluated the effectiveness and safety of door-to-door distribution of HIV self-testing (HIVST) kits in rural Malawi.<h4>Methods</h4>This cluster randomised trial, conducted between September 2016 and January 2018, used restricted 1:1 randomisation to allocate 22 health facilities and their defined areas to door-to-door HIVST alongside the standard of care (SOC) or the SOC alone. The study population included residents (≥16 years). HIVST kits were provided door-to-door by community-based distribution agents (CBDAs) for at least 12 months. The primary outcome was recent HIV testing (in the last 12 months) measured through an endline survey. Secondary outcomes were lifetime HIV testing and cumulative 16-month antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiations, which were captured at health facilities. Social harms were reported through community reporting systems. Analysis compared cluster-level outcomes by arm.<h4>Results</h4>Overall, 203 CBDAs distributed 273 729 HIVST kits. The endline survey included 2582 participants in 11 HIVST clusters and 2908 participants in 11 SOC clusters. Recent testing was higher in the HIVST arm (68.5%, 1768/2582) than the SOC arm (48.9%, 1422/2908), with adjusted risk difference (RD) of 16.1% (95% CI 6.5% to 25.7%). Lifetime testing was also higher in the HIVST arm (86.9%, 2243/2582) compared with the SOC arm (78.5%, 2283/2908; adjusted RD 6.3%, 95% CI 2.3% to 10.3%). Differences were most pronounced for adolescents aged 16-19 years (adjusted RD 18.6%, 95% CI 7.3% to 29.9%) and men (adjusted RD 10.2%, 95% CI 3.1% to 17.2%). Cumulative incidence of ART initiation was 1187.2 and 909.0 per 100 000 population in the HIVST and SOC arms, respectively (adjusted RD 309.1, 95% CI -95.5 to 713.7). Self-reported HIVST use was 42.5% (1097/2582), with minimal social harms reported.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Door-to-door HIVST increased recent and lifetime testing at population level and showed high safety, underscoring potential for HIVST to contribute to HIV elimination goals in priority settings.<h4>Trial registration number</h4>NCT02718274.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: other diagnostic or tool, epidemiology, HIV, Cluster randomised trial
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 07:36
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2023 02:57
DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004269
Open Access URL: https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/Suppl_4/e004269
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3154365