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Effects of a Short Message Service (SMS) Intervention on Reduction of HIV Risk Behaviours and Improving HIV Testing Rates Among Populations located near Roadside Wellness Clinics: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Journal article
Authors Kaymarlin Govender
Sean Beckett
Wilfred Masebo
Carla Braga
Pemberai Zambezi
Marcia Manhique
Gavin George
Dick Durevall
Published in AIDS and behavior
Volume 23
Issue 11
Pages 3119–3128
ISSN 1573-3254
Publication year 2019
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
Department of Economics
Pages 3119–3128
Language en
Keywords AIDS, ARV, HIV, SMS, Truck drivers, Sex workers
Subject categories Public health science, Epidemiology


Short Message Service (SMS) offers an innovative method of promoting sexual health to key and vulnerable populations who are users of mobile phones and are at high risk of HIV infection. This cluster randomised control trial tests the effectiveness of a SMS intervention in reducing HIV risk behaviours and improving HIV testing behaviours among truck drivers, sex workers and community residents located near Roadside Wellness Clinics (RWCs) in three southern African countries. The SMS arm received 35 HIV risk reduction and HIV testing SMSs over a 6-month period. The SMS intervention had no significant impact on sexual risk behaviours. However, participants in the SMS arm were more likely to have tested for HIV in the previous 6 months (86.1% vs. 77.7%; AOR 1.71, 95% CI 1.11-2.66). The results indicate that the general SMS intervention, which provide health promoting information, improved HIV testing rates in key and vulnerable populations in southern Africa.

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