Background: Crowdsourcing, the process of shifting individual tasks to a large group, may enhance human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing interventions. We conducted a noninferiority, randomized controlled trial to compare first-time HIV testing rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals who received a crowdsourced or a health marketing HIV test promotion video.
Methods: Seven hundred twenty-one MSM and transgender participants (≥16 years old, never before tested for HIV) were recruited through 3 Chinese MSM Web portals and randomly assigned to 1 of 2 videos. The crowdsourced video was developed using an open contest and formal transparent judging while the evidence-based health marketing video was designed by experts. Study objectives were to measure HIV test uptake within 3 weeks of watching either HIV test promotion video and cost per new HIV test and diagnosis.
Results: Overall, 624 of 721 (87%) participants from 31 provinces in 217 Chinese cities completed the study. HIV test uptake was similar between the crowdsourced arm (37% [114/307]) and the health marketing arm (35% [111/317]). The estimated difference between the interventions was 2.1% (95% confidence interval, -5.4% to 9.7%). Among those tested, 31% (69/225) reported a new HIV diagnosis. The crowdsourced intervention cost substantially less than the health marketing intervention per first-time HIV test (US$131 vs US$238 per person) and per new HIV diagnosis (US$415 vs US$799 per person).
Conclusions: Our nationwide study demonstrates that crowdsourcing may be an effective tool for improving HIV testing messaging campaigns and could increase community engagement in health campaigns.
Clinical trials registration: NCT02248558.
Keywords: China; HIV; crowdsourcing; men who have sex with men; testing.
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