EDCTP Alumni Network

Fostering excellence and collaboration in the next generation of researchers

Call Career Development Fellowship (CDF)
Programme EDCTP2
Start Date 2021-05-01
End Date 2021-09-22
Project Code TMA2019CDF-2729
Status Active


Peer-led HIV self-testing to improve HIV testing and linkage to HIV care among men in two fishing communities in rural Uganda: a pilot intervention (PEST4MEN)

Host Organisation

Institution Country
Busitema University Uganda

Current Organisation

Busitema University

Current Job Title

Senior Lecturer


Role Committee/board Start Date End Date
Editorial Board Member BMC Public Health 2019
Academic Editor PLoS ONE 2017 2021
Associate Editor AIDS and Behavior 2010 2021


Institution Degree Year
Makerere University, Uganda PhD

Areas Of Specialisation

Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)


Matovu JK , author
Gray RH , author
Kiwanuka N , author
Kigozi G , author
Wabwire-Mangen F , author
Nalugoda F , author
Serwadda D , author
Sewankambo NK , author
Wawer MJ , author
AIDS and behavior

Background: Novel interventions are needed to reach young people and adult men with HIV services given the low HIV testing rates in these population sub-groups. We assessed the feasibility and acceptability of a peer-led oral HIV self-testing (HIVST) intervention in Kasensero, a hyperendemic fishing community (HIV prevalence: 37-41%) in Rakai, Uganda.

Methods: This study was conducted among young people (15-24 years) and adult men (25+ years) between May and August 2019. The study entailed distribution of HIVST kits by trained "peer-leaders," who were selected from existing social networks and trained in HIVST distribution processes. Peer-leaders received up to 10 kits to distribute to eligible social network members (i.e. aged 15-24 years if young people or 25+ years if adult man, not tested in the past 3 months, and HIV-negative or of unknown HIV status at enrolment). The intervention was evaluated against the feasibility benchmark of 70% of peer-leaders distributing up to 70% of the kits that they received; and the acceptability benchmark of >80% of the respondents self-testing for HIV.

Results: Of 298 enrolled into the study at baseline, 56.4% (n = 168) were young people (15-24 years) and 43.6% (n = 130) were adult males (25+ years). Peer-leaders received 298 kits and distributed 296 (99.3%) kits to their social network members. Of the 282 interviewed at follow-up, 98.2% (n = 277) reported that they used the HIVST kits. HIV prevalence was 7.4% (n = 21). Of the 57.1% (n = 12) first-time HIV-positives, 100% sought confirmatory HIV testing and nine of the ten (90%) respondents who were confirmed as HIV-positive were linked to HIV care within 1 week of HIV diagnosis.

Conclusion: Our findings show that a social network-based, peer-led HIVST intervention in a hyperendemic fishing community is highly feasible and acceptable, and achieves high linkage to HIV care among newly diagnosed HIV-positive individuals.



Joseph Matovu
Name Country Institution
Joseph KB Matovu Uganda Busitema University
1. To assess acceptability of a peer-led HIV self-testing intervention in the two fishing communities 2. Determine linkage to and retention in HIV care among newly diagnosed HIV-positive men following peer-led HIV self-testing
Kalangala and Buvuma islands, Lake Victoria
Study Design:
Prospective cohort study
1. Percentage of previously untested men and HIV-negative men who last tested for HIV more than 3 months ago who tested for HIV through peer-led HIV self-testing 2. Percentage of first-time HIV-positive men who were linked to HIV care following peer-led HIV self-testing 3. Percentage of HIV-positive men linked to HIV care who are retained in HIV care as 18 months post-enrollment
Start Date:
End Date:

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