HIV Self-Testing in Lusaka Province, Zambia: Acceptability, Comprehension of Testing Instructions, and Individual Preferences for Self-Test Kit Distribution in a Population-Based Sample of Adolescents and Adults

Academic Article


  • We assessed attitudes and preferences toward HIV self-testing (HIVST) among Zambian adolescents and adults. We conducted a population-based survey of individuals aged 16-49 years old in Lusaka Province, Zambia. HIVST was shown to participants through a short video on oral fluid-based self-testing. In addition to demographics, HIV risk perceptions, and HIV testing history, we assessed participants' acceptability and concerns regarding HIVST. Using a discrete choice experiment, we investigated preferences for the location of self-test pickup, availability of counseling, and cost. After reviewing an instructional sheet or an additional video, we assessed participants' understanding of self-test performance. Among 1617 participants, 647 (40.0%) were male, 269 (16.6%) were adolescents and 754 (46.6%) were nontesters (i.e., no HIV test in the past 12 months). After viewing the video, 1392 (86.0%) reported that HIVST would make them more likely to test and while 35.0% reported some concerns with HIVST, only 2% had serious concerns. Participants strongly preferred HIVST over finger prick testing as well as having counseling and reported willingness to pay out-of-pocket (US$3.5 for testers and US$5.5 for nontesters). Viewing an HIVST demonstration video did not improve participant understanding of self-test usage procedures compared to an instructional sheet alone, but it increased confidence in the ability to self-test. In conclusion, HIVST was highly acceptable and desirable, especially among those not accessing existing HIV testing services. Participants expressed a strong preference for counseling and a willingness to pay for test kits. These data can guide piloting and scaling-up of HIVST in Zambia and elsewhere in Africa.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zanolini A; Chipungu J; Vinikoor MJ; Bosomprah S; Mafwenko M; Holmes CB; Thirumurthy H
  • Start Page

  • 254
  • End Page

  • 260
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 3