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Repeat HIV testing practices in the era of HIV self-testing among adults in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

 

Abstract

Repeat HIV testing is important in high HIV burden communities to enable sustainability of prevention initiatives; however, an understanding of repeat testing practices is limited. Additional HIV testing approaches may be required to increase testing. HIV self-testing is an additional testing approach, but knowledge on its potential for repeat testing is limited. This study explored repeat HIV testing practices and uptake of HIV self-testing among repeat testers, following exposure to HIV self-testing. HIV testing practices were explored at two time points. During Phase 1, eighty in-depth interviews were conducted among 40 consenting adults, and 30 telephonic contacts were completed during Phase 2. Framework analysis was used to analyse the transcripts from the in-depth interviews. The practice of repeat HIV testing is primarily influenced by HIV status awareness and risk exposure. Thirteen regular testers and one HIV naïve tester at baseline had undergone repeat testing through the use of a traditional testing approach such as HIV counselling and testing as reported in Phase 2. HIV self-testing has a role among repeat testers, but affordability and access are barriers.

 

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