Awareness of and willingness to use oral HIV self-test kits among Kenyan young adults living in informal urban settlements: a cross-sectional survey

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AIDS care




HIV; Kenya; informal urban settlement; rapid test; respondent driven sampling; self-test; slum; young adults


Self-administered HIV testing may be a promising strategy to improve testing in hard-to-reach young adults, provided they are aware of and willing to use oral HIV self-testing (HIVST). This study examined awareness of and willingness to use oral HIVST among 350 high-risk young adults, aged 18-22, living in Kenya's informal urban settlements. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine differences in HIVST awareness and willingness by demographic and sexual risk factors. Findings showed that most participants were male (56%) and less than 20 years old (60%). Awareness of oral HIVST was low (19%). However, most participants (75%) were willing to use an oral HIV self-test in the future and ask their sex partner(s) to self-test before having sex (77%). Women (OR = 1.80, 95%CI:1.11, 2.92), older participants (aged 20+) (OR = 2.57, 95% CI:1.48, 4.46), and more educated participants (OR = 2.25, 95%CI:1.36, 3.70) were more willing to use HIVST as compared to men, teen-aged, and less educated participants, respectively. Young adults who reported recent engagement in high-risk sexual behaviors, such as unprotected sex, sex while high or drunk, or sex exchange, were significantly less likely to be willing to use an oral HIV self-test kit (OR = 0.34, 95%CI:0.13,0.86). Those with the highest monthly income (OR = 0.47, 95%CI: 0.25, 0.89) were also less willing to use HIVST. More community- and peer-based efforts are needed to highlight the range of benefits of HIVST (i.e., social, clinical, and structural) to appeal to various youth demographics, in addition to addressing concerns relating to HIVST.


Prevention and Community Health