Social media-based secondary distribution of HIV/syphilis self-testing among Chinese men who have sex with men.
BACKGROUND: Social media and secondary distribution (distributing self-testing kits by indexes through their networks) both show strong promise to improve HIV self-testing uptake. We assessed an implementation program in Zhuhai, China, which focused on the secondary distribution of HIV/syphilis self-test kits among men who have sex with men (MSM) via social media. METHODS: Men of age 16 or above, born biologically male, and ever had sex with another man were recruited as indexes. Banner ads on a social media platform invited the participants to apply for up to five self-test kits every three-months. Index men paid a deposit of 15 USD/kit refundable upon submitting a photograph of a completed test result via an online submission system. They were informed that they could distribute the kits to others (referred to as "alters"). RESULTS: A total of 371 unique index men applied for 1150 kits (mean age=28.7±6.9), of which 1141 test results were returned (99%). Among them, 1099 were valid test results, 810 (74%) were from 331 unique index men, and 289 tests (26%) were from 281 unique alters. Compared to index men, a higher proportion of alters were naïve HIV testers (40% VS. 21%, P<0.001). The total HIV self-test reactivity rate was 3%, with alters having a significantly higher rate than indexes(5% VS 2%, P=0.008). A total of 21 people (3%) had a reactive syphilis test result. CONCLUSIONS: Integrating social media with the secondary distribution of self-test kits may hold promise to increase HIV/syphilis testing coverage and case identification among MSM.
Wu, D; Zhou, Y; Yang, N; Huang, S; He, X; Tucker, J; Li, X; Smith, K; Ritchwood, T; Jiang, X; Liu, X; Wang, Y; Huang, W; Ong, J; Fu, H; Bao, H; Pan, S; Dai, W; Tang, W
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