Enhancing HIV Self-Testing Among Nigerian Youth: Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of the 4 Youth by Youth Study Using Crowdsourced Youth-Led Strategies
AIDS Patient Care and STDs
crowdsourcing; HIV; Nigeria; self-testing; sexually transmitted infection; youth
Although HIV self-testing (HIVST) has expanded in many regions, a few HIVST services have been tailored for and organized by youth. Innovative HIVST models are needed to differentiate testing services and generate local demand for HIVST among youth. The current pilot study aimed at examining the feasibility and efficacy of crowdsourced youth-led strategies to enhance HIVST as well as sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing. Teams of youth iteratively developed HIVST interventions using crowdsourcing approaches and apprenticeship training. Five interventions were selected and then evaluated among youth (ages 14-24) from September 2019 to March 2020. Given the similar outcomes and approaches, we present cumulative data from the completed interventions. We assessed HIVST uptake (self-report), STI uptake (facility reports for gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B, and chlamydia testing), and quality of youth participation. Mixed-effect logistic regression models estimated intervention effects at baseline and 6 months. Of the 388 youths enrolled, 25.3% were aged 14-19, 58.0% were male, and 54.1% had completed secondary education. We observed a significant increase in HIVST from 3 months compared with 6 months (20% vs. 90%; p < 0.001). Among those who received an HIVST at 3 months, 324 out of 388 were re-tested at 6 months. We also observed significant increases in testing for all four STIs: syphilis (5-48%), gonorrhea (5-43%), chlamydia (1-45%), and hepatitis B testing (14-55%) from baseline to the 6-month follow-up. Youth participation in the intervention was robust. Youth-led HIVST intervention approaches were feasible and resulted in increased HIV/STI test uptake. Further research on the effectiveness of these HIVST services is needed.
Iwelunmor, J., Ezechi, O., Obiezu-Umeh, C., Gbaja-Biamila, T., Musa, A., Nwaozuru, U., Xian, H., Oladele, D., Airhihenbuwa, C., Muessig, K., Rosenberg, N., Conserve, D., Ong, J., Nkengasong, S., Day, S., Tahlil, K., Belue, R., Mason, S., Tang, W., Ogedegbe, G., & Tucker, J. (2022). Enhancing HIV Self-Testing Among Nigerian Youth: Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of the 4 Youth by Youth Study Using Crowdsourced Youth-Led Strategies. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 36 (2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/apc.2021.0202