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Developing national strategies for reaching men with HIV testing services in Tanzania: results from the male catch-up plan

Journal Article
(Published May, 2019)
Conserve, D.F. (Editor),
Issango, J. (Editor),
Kilale, A.M. (Editor),
Nhigula, P. (Editor),
Memiah, P. (Editor),
Mbita, G. (Editor),
Choko, A.T. (Editor),
Hamilton, A. (Editor),
King, G. (Editor)
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Because a 2017 survey found 55% of males did not know their HIV status, the Government of Tanzania launched a Test and Treat campaign in June 2018 focused on reaching men and developed the 2018-2020 Male Catch-Up plan. This article reports (1) the enablers and barriers of HIV testing services (HTS) uptake among men (2) and describes the strategies that were proposed as part of the Male Catch-Up Plan to address some of these barriers. METHOD: Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 23 men in Dar es Salaam to explore HTS enablers and barriers. To develop the Male Catch-Up Plan strategies, a desk review of published studies, and analyses of national implementers of HIV/AIDS interventions were conducted. An additional 123 interviews were also carried out with key implementers of HIV/AIDS interventions, healthcare workers, secondary school boys and members of the community in Iringa and Tanga. RESULTS: Enablers of HTS included the desire to check one's health, high HIV risk perception, wanting to protect oneself if tested negative, and being encouraged by their sexual partners. Barriers of HTS were fear of a positive test result, and low HIV risk perception. Proposed strategies from the Male Catch-Up Plan to address these barriers included non-biomedical and biomedical approaches. Non-biomedical strategies are social and cultural approaches to promote an enabling environment to encourage health seeking behavior, safe behavior, and providing peer education programs and social marketing to promote condoms. Biomedical approaches consisted of expanding targeted HIV testing, HIV self-testing, and integrating HIV services with other health services. A number of barriers contribute to the low uptake of HTS among men in Tanzania. National strategies developed to address these HTS barriers to guide the national Test and Treat campaign focusing on increasing HTS uptake among men.

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Citation: 
Conserve DF, Issango J, Kilale AM, Njau B, Nhigula P, Memiah P, Mbita G, et al. Developing national strategies for reaching men with HIV testing services in Tanzania: results from the male catch-up plan. BMC Health Serv Res. 2019;19(1):317. Epub 2019/05/22. doi: 10.1186/s12913-019-4120-3. PubMed PMID: 31109335. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31109335