Last updated on February 2020

Using Social Media to Deliver HIV Self-Testing Kits and Link to Online PrEP Services


Brief description of study

The primary objective of this study is to compare the relative effectiveness of three web-based platforms: social media sites (e.g., Facebook), dating applications [apps] (e.g., Grindr), and informational sites (e.g., Google) to promote self-testing of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) who are at increased risk of HIV exposure and/or infection. In addition, we will measure Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and evaluate the degree to which substance use and, separately, the participant's intention to test affect HIV self-testing and PrEP uptake. Through this research, we will also examine how participants' social media use, attitudes on HIV testing, perceptions of sexual risk behavior, medical mistrust, and stigma impact HIV testing and PrEP uptake.

Detailed Study Description

Culturally appropriate advertisements (designed specifically for the study population and advertisement method) for promoting HIV testing and PrEP uptake will be created by the study team. These advertisements will be placed on social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), informational sites (Google, Bing, Yahoo) and dating apps (Grindr, Hornet, Jack'd) in the form of blast advertisements ("ads"). The advertisements will display on specific days and times (e.g., high traffic utilization) in the geographical locations selected for participation in the study.

Upon clicking the ad, users will land on the study informational page on Qualtrics, where they will receive information about the study, undergo eligibility screening and, if eligible, electronically sign the informed consent. Participants will receive information about HIV testing and PrEP and will be asked to complete the baseline assessment and order their HIV home self-test kit.

Participants will be followed up at two intervals after the baseline assessment. The first will occur 14 days post-baseline, where participants will be asked about their test use and may be asked if they visited a PrEP provider and/or if they started PrEP and about PrEP opinions and facilitators and barriers. If they tested positive for HIV on the home self-test kit, they will be asked whether they have visited an HIV treatment provider. Participants will be asked to upload a picture of their test result for validation on the secure Qualtrics server during the 14-day follow-up assessment. Photographs will be interpreted by the study team and the result will be entered into the study database; photographs will then be deleted.

At the 60-day follow-up, all participants will be asked to respond to study evaluation questions. Additionally, participants may respond to a subset of the questions that is the same as the 14-day follow-up, based on their responses on the first follow-up survey. Those who reported that they received a negative HIV self-test result and started PrEP at the 14-day follow-up will not be asked to answer these questions at the 60-day follow-up. Participants who either did not take the HIV test or did not start PrEP by the 14-day follow-up may be asked about PrEP facilitators and barriers, their self-test use, if they visited a PrEP provider, whether they started PrEP, and if applicable, whether they have visited an HIV treatment provider, depending on their responses during the 14-day follow-up. Participants will be asked to upload a picture of their test result (unless provided at the 14-day follow-up) for validation on the secure Qualtrics server during the 60-day follow-up assessment. Photographs will be interpreted by the study team and the result will be entered into the study database; photographs will then be deleted.

Participants who report a preliminary positive, invalid, or indeterminate result on the HIV home self-test kit will be referred to local brick-and-mortar clinics for additional services and asked to continue participating in follow-up assessments. Regardless of their result, all participants will be offered information on HIV and STD prevention, and locations of clinics and PrEP providers near them.

Data will be collected both indirectly from each website's metrics and directly from the online questionnaires that the participants will complete.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT04155502

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UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

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