HIV testing services (HTS) are an important component of HIV prevention in Kenya and provide an entry point into clinical care for persons newly diagnosed with HIV. Although uptake of HIV testing has increased in Kenya, men are less likely than women to get tested.
Project SOAR is conducting two complementary research activities to (1) understand the barriers to and facilitators of HIV testing among men seeking HTS, and (2) develop and pilot test an HIV post-test assessment tool to promote linkage to HIV care and treatment among newly diagnosed HIV-positive clients—both male and female. The first activity includes (a) scoping HTS sites in Nairobi to identify site-specific characteristics that contribute to bringing in male clients for HIV testing; (b) surveying men seeking HIV testing at these centers to examine their knowledge, attitudes, and practices and risk profile related to HIV; and (c) undertaking qualitative in-depth interviews with HIV-positive men to identify factors that influence care-seeking among those who achieve early diagnoses. In the second activity, we are developing and evaluating (using a two-arm, longitudinal study design) a post-test assessment tool for counselors to use to improve male and female clients’ linkage to care. This activity assesses the acceptability of the tool among health care workers, the feasibility of implementing it in HTS, and its effectiveness in linking newly diagnosed HIV-positive clients to care services.
If proven effective, the post-test assessment tool could be readily adapted for use in Kenya and other settings in sub-Saharan Africa. Overall, the study will contribute to UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals by promoting HIV testing and linking newly diagnosed HIV-positive persons to treatment.