Background: HIV testing is the first step to stop transmission. We aimed to evaluate HIV testing history and new diagnoses among adult outpatients in Kenya aged 18-39 years seeking care for symptoms of acute HIV infection (AHI).
Methods: The Tambua Mapema Plus study, a stepped-wedge trial, enrolled patients presenting to care at six primary care facilities with symptoms of AHI for a targeted HIV-1 nucleic acid (NA) testing intervention compared with standard provider-initiated testing using rapid antibody tests. Intervention participants underwent a questionnaire and NA testing, followed by rapid tests if NA-positive. Multinomial logistic regression was used to analyse factors associated with never testing or testing > 1 year ago ("late retesting") relative to testing ≤ 1 year ago ("on-time testers"). Logistic regression was used to analyse factors associated with new diagnosis. All analyses were stratified by sex.
Results: Of 1,500 intervention participants, 613 (40.9%) were men. Overall, 250 (40.8%) men vs. 364 (41.0%) women were late retesters, and 103 (16.8%) men vs. 50 (5.6%) women had never tested prior to enrolment. Younger age, single status, lower education level, no formal employment, childlessness, sexual activity in the past 6 weeks, and > 1 sexual partner were associated with testing history among both men and women. Intimate partner violence > 1 month ago, a regular sexual partner, and concurrency were associated with testing history among women only. New diagnoses were made in 37 (2.5%) participants (17 men and 20 women), of whom 8 (21.6%) had never tested and 16 (43.2%) were late retesters. Newly-diagnosed men were more likely to have symptoms for > 14 days, lower education level and no religious affiliation and less likely to be young, single, and childless than HIV-negative men; newly-diagnosed women were more likely to report fever than HIV-negative women. Among men, never testing was associated with fivefold increased odds (95% confidence interval 1.4-20.9) of new diagnosis relative to on-time testers in adjusted analyses.
Conclusion: Most new HIV diagnoses were among participants who had never tested or tested > 1 year ago. Strengthening provider-initiated testing targeting never testers and late retesters could decrease time to diagnosis among symptomatic adults in coastal Kenya.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03508908 registered on 26/04/2018.
Keywords: Acute HIV; Coverage; HIV testing; Primary care.
© 2022. The Author(s).