The HIV Care Cascade Among Female Sex Workers in Zimbabwe

Frances M. Cowan, Calum B. Davey, Elizabeth Fearon, Phillis Mushati, Jeffrey Dirawo, Valentina Cambiano, Sue Napierala Mavedzenge, Dagmar Hanisch, Ramona Wong-Gruenwald, Milton Chemhuru, Nyasha Masuka, Karin Hatzold (+4 others)
2017 Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes  
Objective To present findings from implementation and scale-up of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing programmes for female sex workers in Malawi and Zimbabwe, 2013-2018. Methods In Zimbabwe, we carried out formative research to assess the acceptability and accuracy of HIV self-testing. During implementation we evaluated sex workers' preferences for and feasibility of distribution of test kits before the programme was scaled-up. In Malawi, we conducted a rapid ethnographic
more » ... nographic assessment to explore the context and needs of female sex workers and resources available, leading to a workshop to define the distribution approach for test kits. Once distribution was implemented, we conducted a process evaluation and established a system for monitoring social harm. Findings In Zimbabwe, female sex workers were able to accurately self-test. The preference study helped to refine systems for national scale-up through existing services for female sex workers. The qualitative data helped to identify additional distribution strategies and mediate potential social harm to women. In Malawi, peer distribution of test kits was the preferred strategy. We identified some incidents of social harm among peer distributors and female sex workers, as well as supply-side barriers to implementation which hindered uptake of testing. Conclusion Involving female sex workers in planning and ongoing implementation of HIV self-testing is essential, along with strategies to mitigate potential harm. Optimal strategies for distribution and post-test support are contextspecific and need to consider existing support for female sex workers and levels of trust and cohesion within their communities.
doi:10.1097/qai.0000000000001255 pmid:27930599 fatcat:snp2zf2pzrbbfaygkdphmnch6e