International Mentored Scientist Award

“For Us by Us:” A Peer-led Community-Informed Exploratory Study to Increase HIV-Self Testing and PrEP Uptake Among Men who have Sex with Men in Nairobi, Kenya

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Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continues to be the region with the highest burden of HIV with over 69% of people living with HIV residing in the continent. Kenya is among the top four countries with high HIV burden. Key populations, which includes sexual and gender minorities accounting for the highest HIV prevalence in Kenya compared to the general population. The high incidence of HIV infection among MSM in Kenya is exacerbated by high rates of criminalization of same-sex behaviors, stigmatization and discrimination, and social marginalization of those who engage in same-sex relationships in the country—all leading to low engagement in HIV prevention services. To accelerate reduction of new HIV infections among this key population, there is a need to scale up prevention measures such as access to HIV self-test (HIVST) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and continuation among MSM in Kenya. Therefore, we propose an exploratory study to assess the acceptability and willingness of peer-led community-informed intervention to increase HIV-self testing and PrEP uptake among MSM in Nairobi, Kenya. In Aim 1, we will evaluate MSM attitudes and willingness towards accessing HIVST and oral PrEP from peer champions at the community level. Aim 2 will explore peer champions, key stakeholders, and clinicians perceived implementation barriers, facilitators, and training preferences in delivering a HIVST and PrEP intervention. Findings from this study will be used to inform the content, format, timing, and evaluation measures for an adapted intervention to be piloted in a subsequent grant application.