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Men's perspectives on HIV self-testing in sub-Saharan Africa: a qualitative systematic review protocol.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review is to synthesize the best available evidence on men's perspectives on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing in sub-Saharan Africa.

INTRODUCTION: Many factors influence men's poor HIV testing uptake in healthcare facilities, including stigma and confidentiality. Due to men's low engagement with healthcare facilities, there remains a high proportion of HIV-positive men who are unaware of their HIV status. The HIV self-testing models enable individuals to conduct and interpret their own HIV test at their own convenient time and private space, removing some of the barriers associated with accessing healthcare facility-based HIV testing services.

INCLUSION CRITERIA: This review will consider studies that explore men's perspectives and experiences on the use of HIV self-testing in sub-Saharan Africa. The studies will be considered regardless of the men's age. The studies must provide evidence on HIV self-testing, present analysis of qualitative data, and be published from January 2005, with no language restrictions. This review will consider studies of qualitative data including, but not limited to, designs such as phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography and action research.

METHODS: An initial search of PubMed and CINAHL will be conducted, followed by an analysis of text words contained in the title and abstract, and of the index terms used to describe the articles. Titles and abstracts will be screened by two independent reviewers for assessment against the inclusion criteria. Retrieval of full-text studies and critical appraisal will be conducted by two independent reviewers. Data will be extracted and pooled for meta-aggregation, and a Summary of Findings will be presented.

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