CTN-0083: Using Social Media to Deliver HIV Self-Testing Kits and Link to Online PrEP Services

Lisa A. Marsch, Ph.D.
Co-Lead Investigator
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College

Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH
Co-Lead Investigator

University of California, Los Angeles

The risk of HIV infection is magnified for men who have sex with men (MSM), especially minority MSM < 30 years of age and with substance use problems. A promising approach to HIV prevention among this high-risk population is the targeted promotion of HIV self-testing, simplified access to test kits and seamless linkage to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication.

This project seeks to compare the relative effectiveness of using social media sites versus informational sites like to promote HIV self-testing and PrEP uptake. MSM between 18-30 years old will receive culturally-relevant advertisements targeting minorities similar to those previously developed.

Specifically, the study aims to 1) adapt existing social media-based HIV self-testing and PrEP advertising materials for digital distribution on social media and informational sites and 2) compare the effectiveness of HIV testing and PrEP uptake promotion across social media sites versus online informational platforms.

Primary Findings

In total, 271 participants were enrolled, and 254 were included in the final analysis. Among these 254 participants, 177 (69.7%) ordered a home HIV self-test kit. Most of the self-test kits were ordered by participants enrolled from dating apps. Due to waves with low enrollment, between wave statistical comparisons were not feasible. Within wave comparison revealed that Jack’D showed higher order rates (3.29 kits/day) compared to Instagram (0.34 kits/day) and Bing (0 kits/day). There were no associations among self-test kit ordering and HIV-related stigma, perceptions about HIV testing and treatment, and mistrust of medical organizations. Findings show that using popular dating apps might be an efficient way to promote HIV self-testing.

Primary Outcomes Article: Stafylis C, et al. Relative Effectiveness of Social Media, Dating Apps, and Information Search Sites in Promoting HIV Self-Testing: Observational Cohort Study. JMIR Formative Research 2022;6(9):e35648. [get article]

    Node Involvement

    Lead Node(s):

  • Northeast Node

  • All Participating Nodes:

  • Northeast Node