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Pregnancy and kit pull men to HIV testing

Thursday January 3rd, 2019

A pregnant woman may often be the key to persuading a man to take an HIV test, according to the findings of a major study in Africa.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine worked with doctors in Malawi on the project, which involved a cluster randomised trial.

They found that issuing self-testing kits to women dramatically increased the chances of a man attending an HIV clinic.

During the project, involving more than 2,000 women, women were either given a simple letter inviting their male partner to attend an HIV clinic or were given two HIV self-testing kits to pass on.

Just 17% of the men who were passed letters attended clinics for testing – but up to 90% of those who received self-testing kits turned up.

The researchers also tried other incentives alongside the kits with widespread success. These ranged from phone calls to small cash rewards.

The researchers, led by Augustine Choko, of the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Clinical Research Program, Malawi, have reported their findings in PLOS Medicine.

They write: "Secondary distribution of HIV self-testing kits, ideally accompanied by interventions promoting timely linkage into HIV care and prevention cascades, is a promising new approach for routine ante-natal care services to reach male partners, intensify prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and contribute more broadly to country-level HIV prevention targets.”

HIV self-testing alone or with additional interventions, including financial incentives, and linkage to care or prevention among male partners of antenatal care clinic attendees in Malawi: An adaptive multi-arm, multi-stage cluster randomised trial. PLoS Med 2 January 2019; doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002719

http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002719

Tags: Africa | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Flu & Viruses | Men's Health | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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