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Adolescent girls’ perception about their ability to safely offer HIV self-test kits to sexual partners: a feasibility study in Siaya County, Kenya

Gift-Noelle Wango
Kawango Agot
Henry Ogolla
Marylyn Ochillo
Spala Ohaga
Harsha Thirumurthy


Background: Adolescent girls (AG) in sub-Saharan Africa are at elevated risk of acquiring HIV, yet few know the HIV status of their sexual partners. Interventions to promote testing among partners are urgently needed.

Objectives: To explore AG’s perceived ability to safely distribute HIV self-tests to their partners, if partners would self-test, and how to minimize partner violence.

Methods: We recruited HIV-negative AG ages 15-19 years with a partner of unknown HIV status or who tested negative >6 months previously. Using mixed-methods for data collection and regression and inductive thematic analysis for quantitative and qualitative analysis, respectively, we determined factors associated with the study objectives.

Results: We enrolled 101 AG, median age 17.3 years, sexual debut 15-16 years, and 54.5% reported ≥2 lifetime partners. Most participants (95.0%) would offer self-tests to their partners and 95.1% reported high-to-moderate chance their part- ner would self-test. No participant attribute was associated with perceived ability to offer self-test or likelihood of partner testing. To avoid violence, AG recommended politeness, indirect approach, voluntariness, and highlighting advantages of self-testing.

Conclusions: AG believe they can safely distribute self-tests to their partners, and most partners would self-test, expanding utility of HIV self-tests to include partners of AG.

Keywords: HIV self-testing; partner testing; couples testing; adolescent girls; Kenya. 

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905