Developing a mHealth intervention to promote uptake of HIV testing among African communities in the UK: a qualitative study

Evans, C. and Turner, K. and Suggs, L.S. and Occa, A. and Juma, A. and Blake, H. (2016) Developing a mHealth intervention to promote uptake of HIV testing among African communities in the UK: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 16 . 656/1-656/16. ISSN 1471-2458

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Abstract

Background: HIV-related mHealth interventions have demonstrable efficacy in supporting treatment adherence, although the evidence base for promoting HIV testing is inconclusive. Progress is constrained by a limited understanding of processes used to develop interventions and weak theoretical underpinnings. This paper describes a research project that informed the development of a theory-based mHealth intervention to promote HIV testing amongst city-dwelling African communities in the UK.

Methods: A community-based participatory social marketing design was adopted. Six focus groups (48 participants in total) were undertaken and analysed using a thematic framework approach, guided by constructs from the Health Belief Model. Key themes were incorporated into a set of text messages, which were pre-tested and refined.

Results: The focus groups identified a relatively low perception of HIV risk, especially amongst men, and a range of social and structural barriers to HIV testing. In terms of self-efficacy around HIV testing, respondents highlighted a need for communities and professionals to work together to build a context of trust through co-location in, and co-involvement of, local communities which would in turn enhance confidence in, and support for, HIV testing activities of health professionals. Findings suggested that messages should: avoid an exclusive focus on HIV, be tailored and personalised, come from a trusted source, allay fears and focus on support and health benefits.

Conclusions: HIV remains a stigmatized and de-prioritized issue within African migrant communities in the UK, posing barriers to HIV testing initiatives. A community-based participatory social marketing design can be successfully used to develop a culturally appropriate text messaging HIV intervention. Key challenges involved turning community research recommendations into brief text messages of only 160 characters. The intervention needs to be evaluated in a randomized control trial. Future research should explore the application of the processes and methodologies described in this paper within other communities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: HIV testing, mHealth, Text messaging, African, Community-based participatory research, Social marketing
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3278-4
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2016 11:15
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2016 11:23
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/38396

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