20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


WEAX0104 - Oral Abstract Session

Potential outlets for distribution of HIV oral self-test kits in Kenya: an exploratory study

Presented by Jerry Okal (Kenya).

J. Okal1, F. Obare2, J. Matheka1, W. Tun3

1Population Council, HIV, Nairobi, Kenya, 2Population Council, Reproductive Health, Nairobi, Kenya, 3Population Council, HIV, Washington, United States

Background: Although HIV testing and counseling has been shown to be among the most effective HIV prevention interventions, coverage and uptake of it remains relatively low among segments of the population in Kenya. The Kenya Ministry of Health recognizes HIV self-testing as an opportunity to improve testing and counseling services by using a technology that can offer greater confidentiality and privacy. Evidence on effective and efficient distribution of self-testing kits is needed before it is adopted as part of the national testing algorithm. We assessed possible outlets and/or networks for the distribution of HIV oral self-test (HST) kits in Kenya.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional exploratory study involving quantitative and qualitative methods in five counties. A community survey (CS) was conducted among 969 randomly selected participants aged 18-64 years. Structured interviews were also conducted with 317 service providers (SP) representing public/private/NGO/faith-based sectors and community service providers. Key informant interviews were conducted with various stakeholders, including chiefs, district and provincial AIDS coordinators, and other NGOs/CBOs (n=27). All study components asked hypothetical questions about the oral HST kits after demonstration of use.
Results: Potential use of HST kits was high among CS respondents (94%) and among SP who indicated that their clients would use the kits (91%). Most CS respondents (62%) preferred that the kits be distributed through public health facilities. The main reason for this preference was that the facility is nearby. More than half (53%) of SP preferred that the kits be distributed through public sector facilities, however, there were variations in the recommended distribution channel by type of provider or outlet. Other outlets preferred by different types of SP include private health facilities, private pharmacies, community health workers, stand-alone VCT centers, community health workers, and local supermarkets. Key informant interviews supported the view that a variety of distribution outlets be used in order to meet the needs of various groups.
Conclusions: Given that there is high potential for use of oral self testing in this setting, the distribution of the kits should be made using multiple channels in order to increase their accessibility to different population groups.

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