Background: A variety of strategies have been used to reach men with HIV self-testing services, including social network-based HIV self-test kits distribution. However, few studies have assessed men’s comfort to distribute to or receive HIV self-test kits from close male friends within the same social network. In this study, we assessed men’s comfort to distribute to and/or receive HIV self-test kits from close male friends and associated factors among men who socialize in networks locally referred to as “camps” in Tanzania. Methods: Data are from the baseline survey of a cluster-randomized controlled trial conducted in June 2019 with 18 social networks or “camps” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Participants were 18-year-old or older male camp members who were HIV-negative at the time of enrolment. We used the Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) to assess factors associated with being comfortable to distribute to and/or receive HIV self-test kits from close male members within one’s social network. Results: Of 505 participants, 67.9% (n = 342) reported being comfortable to distribute to while 68.2% (n = 344) were comfortable to receive HIV self-test kits from their close male friends. Ever having heard about HIV self-testing (Adjusted Prevalence Ratio (Adj. PR): 1.6; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.3, 1.9), willingness to self-test for HIV in front of a sexual partner (Adj. PR: 3.0; 95%CI: 1.5, 6.1) and exposure to peer-led HIV self-testing education and promotion (Adj. PR: 1.4; 95%CI: 1.2, 1.7) were significantly associated with being comfortable to distribute HIV self-test kits to close male members within one’s social network. Similar results were observed for being comfortable to receive HIV self-test kits from a close male friend within one’s social network. Conclusions: Overall, these findings suggest that distribution of HIV self-test kits through close male friends could improve the proportion of men reached with HIV self-testing services and improve HIV testing rates in this population where uptake remains low. However, additional promotional strategies such as peer-led HIV self-testing education are needed to raise awareness and increase the proportion of men who are comfortable to receive and/or distribute HIV self-testing kits.
- HIV self-testing
- Social networks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health