Implementation of different HIV self-testing models with implications for HIV testing services during the COVID-19 pandemic: Study protocol for secondary data analysis of the STAR Initiative in South Africa
Introduction HIV self-testing (HIVST) presents a convenient, private approach that removes barriers to providing HIV testing services. The Self-Testing Africa (STAR) Initiative aims to scale up HIVST among priority and undertested populations. HIVST has the potential to help maintain testing services during the social distancing restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This project evaluates linkage to confirmatory testing and treatment for HIV-positive clients for the STAR South Africa site. Methods and analysis This secondary data analysis protocol aims to evaluate different HIVST distribution models from a prospective study implemented during November 2017 and December 2020 by Ezintsha, a subdivision of Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute. Routinely collected distribution and self-reported HIVST outcomes data will be deidentified and analysed. The main outcomes of interest are linkage to care and treatment among HIVST users who report a reactive HIVST result. Additionally, we plan to determine sociodemographic factors associated with linkage to care and treatment among HIVST users. Descriptive statistics will be used to describe the variables of interest, and modified Poisson regression with robust variance estimation will be performed to identify factors associated with linkage to care and treatment among HIVST users who report a reactive HIVST result. Risk ratios and 95% CIs for the risk ratios will be reported. Ethics and dissemination The study protocol has been approved by the University of Witwatersrand Human Research Ethics Committee. The dissemination plan for the study findings will include presentations to local and international health authorities, international conferences and publications in open access journals.
Majam, Mohammed; Conserve, Donaldson F.; Zishiri, Vincent; Haile, Zelalem T.; Tembo, Angela; Phiri, Jane; Hatzold, Karin; Johnson, Cheryl C.; and Venter, Francois, "Implementation of different HIV self-testing models with implications for HIV testing services during the COVID-19 pandemic: Study protocol for secondary data analysis of the STAR Initiative in South Africa" (2021). Social Medicine Open Access Publications. 22.