Incentive-based human immunodeficiency virus screening in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review


BACKGROUND: The majority of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections that occur worldwide are in sub-Saharan Africa. While recent gains have been made in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), substantial disparities in sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) screening and treatment still exist between LMIC and high-income countries. In addition to increasing STBBI screening uptake, providing incentives for STBBI screening may decrease perceived stigma associated with STBBI screening. METHODS: Our review was conducted as part of a larger systematic review using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement and guidance from the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. This review focuses on incentivized STBBI screening in LMIC; high-income countries were excluded. Articles were excluded if their primary focus was on children and youth (younger than 16 years), results retrieval, treatment, behavioral change only, behavior intention, treatment adherence, or provider incentive. RESULTS: The search yielded 6219 abstracts. The search and selection criteria included all STBBI; however, only articles examining incentivized HIV screening met our inclusion criteria. Five articles representing 4 distinct studies from South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe were included, all of which focused on incentivized HIV screening. Populations screened included the following: men, first-time testers, population-based surveillance program families, and insurance health plan members. Incentive structures varied widely and incentives were mainly food vouchers, lottery prizes, or household items. CONCLUSIONS: Our review was conducted to determine if patient incentives increase STBBI test uptake in LMIC. Overall, incentives were associated with an increase in HIV screening uptake. Most studies included focused solely on men. There is a significant void in understanding STBBI incentive-based screening outside of this context and in complex populations who should be targeted in incentivized HIV screening. Incentives appear most effective when developed specific to context and target population. Further research is needed to analyze incentivized screening across similar study designs, to evaluate long-term effectiveness, and to explore the ethical implications of incentivized care.


Finlay J, Lambert T, Krahn J, Meyer G, Singh AE, Caine V




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Income
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV- population
  • Testing
    • Testing


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