A designathon to co-create community-driven HIV self-testing services for Nigerian youth: findings from a participatory event

BMC Infect Dis. 2021 May 31;21(1):505. doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-06212-6.


Background: Youth are at high risk for HIV, but are often left out of designing interventions, including those focused on adolescents. We organized a designathon for Nigerian youth to develop HIV self-testing (HIVST) strategies for potential implementation in their local communities. A designathon is a problem-focused event where participants work together over a short period to create and present solutions to a judging panel.

Methods: We organized a 72-h designathon for youth (14-24 years old) in Nigeria to design strategies to increase youth HIVST uptake. Proposals included details about HIVST kit service delivery, method of distribution, promotional strategy, and youth audience. Teams pitched their proposals to a diverse seven-member judging panel who scored proposals based on desirability, feasibility, potential impact and teamwork. We examined participants' socio-demographic characteristics and summarized themes from their HIVST proposals.

Results: Forty-two youth on 13 teams participated in the designathon. The median team size was 3 participants (IQR: 2-4). The median age was 22.5 years (IQR: 21-24), 66.7% were male, 47.4% completed tertiary education, and 50% lived in Lagos State. Themes from proposals included HIVST integration with other health services, digital marketing and distribution approaches, and engaging students. Judges identified seven teams with exceptional HIVST proposals and five teams were supported for further training.

Conclusions: The designathon provided a structured method for incorporating youth ideas into HIV service delivery. This approach could differentiate HIV services to be more youth-friendly in Nigeria and other settings.

Keywords: Crowdsourcing; Designathon; Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Nigeria; Self-test; Youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Community Health Services / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Nigeria
  • Self-Testing*
  • Young Adult