Background and objectives: HIV testing is essential to access HIV treatment and care and plays a critical role in preventing transmission. Despite this, testing coverage is low among men in sub-Saharan Africa. Community-based testing has demonstrated potential to expand male testing coverage, yet scant evidence reveals how community-based services can be designed to optimize testing uptake. We conducted a discrete choice experiment (DCE) to elicit preferences and predict uptake of community-based testing by men in Uganda.
Methods: Hypothetical choices between alternative community-based testing services and the option to opt-out of testing were presented to a random, population-based sample of 203 adult male residents. The testing alternatives varied by service delivery model (community health campaign, counselor-administered home-based testing, distribution of HIV self-test kits at local pharmacies), availability of multi-disease testing, access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), and provision of a US$0.85 incentive. We estimated preferences using a random parameters logit model and explored whether preferences varied by participant characteristics through subgroup analyses. We simulated uptake when a single and when two community-based testing services are made available, using reference values of observed uptake to calibrate predictions.
Results: The share of the adult male population predicted to test for HIV ranged from 0.15 to 0.91 when a single community-based testing service is made available and from 0.50 to 0.96 when two community-based services are provided concurrently. ART access was the strongest driver of choices (relative importance [RI] = 3.01, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.74-4.29), followed by the service delivery model (RI = 1.27, 95% CI 0.72-1.82) and availability of multi-disease testing (RI = 1.27, 95% CI 0.09-2.45). A US$0.85 incentive had the least yet still significant influence on choices (RI = 0.77, 95% CI 0.06-1.49). Men who perceived their risk of having HIV to be relatively elevated had higher predicted uptake of HIV self-test kits at local pharmacies, as did young adult men compared to men aged ≥ 30 years. Men who earned ≤ the daily median income had higher predicted uptake of all community-based testing services versus men who earned above the daily median income.
Conclusion: Substantial opportunity exists to optimize the delivery of HIV testing to expand uptake by men; using an innovative DCE, we deliver timely, actionable guidance for promoting community-based testing by men in Uganda. We advance the stated preference literature methodologically by describing how we constructed and evaluated a pragmatic experimental design, used interaction terms to conduct subgroup analyses, and harnessed participant-specific preference estimates to predict and calibrate testing uptake.