Effects of a Mobile Health Intervention to Promote HIV Self-testing with MSM in China: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Xiaofang Zhu, Wenhan Zhang, Don Operario, Yue Zhao, Anxia Shi, Zhihua Zhang, Pan Gao, Ashley Perez, Jun Wang, Nickolas Zaller, Cui Yang, Yehuan Sun, Hongbo Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study tested a mobile health (mHealth) intervention program entitled WeTest, delivered via the WeChat mobile app, to promote oral HIV self-testing (HIVST) among MSM in Hefei, China. A total of 100 MSM participants enrolled, completed baseline assessment, were randomly assigned to intervention or control, and completed 6-month follow-up surveys. Intervention participants (n = 50) received two oral HIVST kits and access to WeTest, a private WeChat group which provided app-based messages and referrals to health services related to HIV. Control participants (n = 50) received two oral HIVST kits only. All participants received instructions to upload photographic results of their oral HIVST, which were sent to the project counselor via a secure WeChat online portal; immediate contact and referrals were made to any participants who tested HIV-positive. In GEE analyses adjusting for time effects and baseline confounders, intervention participants had significantly higher rates of HIV testing (adjusted rate ratio RR = 1.99, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–3.84) and, in particular, higher rates of testing via oral HIVST (adjusted RR = 2.17, 95% CI 1.08–4.37) compared with the control group. Significant time effects were also found such that all participants, regardless of group allocation, had significantly higher rates of reporting consistent condom use with main partners (adjusted RR = 18.13, 95% CI 5.19–63.31) and with non-main partners (adjusted RR = 5.33, 95% CI 2.35–12.08). Findings from this study provide evidence for the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effects of this mHealth approach to promoting oral HIVST among MSM in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3129-3139
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • China
  • HIV self-testing
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Mobile health (mHealth)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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