Social Media-Based Secondary Distribution of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Syphilis Self-testing among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men

Dan Wu, Yi Zhou, Nancy Yang, Shanzi Huang, Xi He, Joseph Tucker, Xiaofeng Li, Kumi M. Smith, Tiarney Ritchwood, Xiaohui Jiang, Xuan Liu, Yehua Wang, Wenting Huang, Jason Ong, Hongyun Fu, Huanyu Bao, Stephen Pan, Wencan Dai, Weiming Tang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Social media and secondary distribution (distributing self-testing kits by indexes through their networks) both show strong promise to improve human immunodeficiency virus (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 aged ≥16 years, 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 5 self-test kits every 3 months. Index men paid a deposit of US$15/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 [standard deviation, 6.9] years), 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 naive HIV testers (40% vs 21%; P <. 001). The total HIV self-test reactivity rate was 3%, with alters having a significantly higher rate than indexes (5% vs 2%; P =. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2251-E2257
JournalClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Volume73
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • HIV
  • MSM
  • men who have sex with men
  • secondary distribution
  • self-testing
  • social media

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