2018: Evaluating the Acceptability and Feasibility of HIV Self-testing among Key Populations in India

The global policy landscape (e.g., UNAIDS “90-90-90” and WHO’s “Test and Treat”) is focused on elimination of HIV through effective linking of populations at risk or with HIV into the prevention and treatment care continuum.  In this direction, focus on India and Africa becomes pertinent given that the region accounts for three-fourth of the global burden of HIV.  Moreover, the epidemic in the region is concentrated in key populations (KPs) such as Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Female Sex Workers (FSW), People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) and Transgender Women (TGW). Given the challenges faced by these groups in accessing testing services, it becomes critical to diversify efforts towards increasing the HIV testing uptake, frequency and efficiency to bring the KPs into the comprehensive HIV treatment and care space. In this direction, WHO has released the consolidated guidelines on HIV testing with a particular emphasis on HIV self-testing (HIVST) and its potential to support efforts directed towards achieving the global testing goals. Hence, this study—implemented by The Humsafar Trust in Mumbai and Delhi with TISS and YRG Care as principal investigators and funded by IAVI and UNAIDS—focused on exploring HIVST among the most critical KPs in the Indian context in two phases:

  • Phase I will be a qualitative study to identify the acceptability, feasibility and appropriate modes of delivery of HIVST kits.
  • Phase II will be a pilot study to determine the uptake and impact of HIVST on improving the awareness of HIV in KPs in India. Phase II will be largely informed from the findings of Phase I and hence the current protocol focusses only on the objectives of Phase I of the study.

 

The specific objectives of the Phase I of the study are:

  • To evaluate the acceptability, feasibility and optimal modes of delivery of HIVST to KPs in India through the conduct of focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and key informant interviews;
  • To inform the design of a pilot intervention study to evaluate the impact of HIVST on awareness of HIV status among KPs in India.

 

Study duration: Four months

Current Status: Completed

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