What is it about?

HIV testing rates among men in sub-Saharan Africa remain suboptimal. HIV self-testing (HIVST) kits have the potential to increase men's knowledge of their HIV status, but research is needed to understand ways to optimize delivery of HIVST kits to men. We conducted a qualitative study to gather female and male perspectives on HIVST secondary distribution from pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC), with and without HIV, to their male partners. Although participants expressed high interest in using HIVST kits themselves, secondary distribution as a delivery strategy was not universally preferred. Participants felt secondary distribution was acceptable for couples in stable relationships, but pregnant women living with HIV expressed concerns around unwanted HIV disclosure, intimate partner violence, and abandonment. Societal gender roles served as a barrier to successful secondary distribution, and participants believed that pregnant women should not bear the sole responsibility of encouraging their male partners' HIV testing. We propose adjustments to this delivery model based on participant suggestions.

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Why is it important?

While secondary distribution of HIVST is currently being implemented across sub-Saharan Africa, it is crucial to optimize delivery strategies. Common barriers discussed by participants included fear of testing HIV-positive without a counselor present, and consequences of HIV status disclosure, such as blame, abuse, and relationship dissolution. Based on participant's suggestions to overcome these barriers, we proposed a re-envisioned model that encompasses alternative options for delivery of HIVST kits to men, mobile HIV counseling, and male healthcare workers to encourage linkage to care or prevention methods.

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This page is a summary of: Pregnant women and male partner perspectives of secondary distribution of HIV self-testing kits in Uganda: A qualitative study, PLoS ONE, February 2023, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0279781.
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