Sigma Research

Consolidating emerging evidence surrounding HIVST and HIVSS: a rapid systematic mapping protocol

Systematic Reviews, 2017; 6:72 (doi:10.1186/s13643-017-0452-4).

Authors: T. Charles Witzel, Peter Weatherburn, Fiona M. Burns, Cheryl Johnson, Carmen Figueroa, Alison J. Rodger


Background: HIV self-testing (HIVST) is becoming popular with policy makers and commissioners globally, with a key aim of expanding access through reducing barriers to testing for individuals at risk of HIV infection. HIV self-sampling (HIVSS) was available previously to self-testing but was confined mainly to the USA and the UK. It remains to be seen whether the momentum behind HIVST will also energise efforts to expand HIVSS. Recent years have seen a rapid growth in the type of evidence related to these interventions as well as several systematic reviews. The vast majority of this evidence relates to acceptability as well as values and preferences, although new types of evidence are emerging. This systematic map aims to consolidate all emerging evidence related to HIVST and HIVSS to respond to this rapidly changing area.

Methods: We will systematically search databases and the abstracts of five conferences from 2006 to the present date, with monthly-automated database searches. Searches will combine key terms relating to HIV (e.g. HIV, AIDS, human immune-deficiency syndrome) with terms related to self-testing (e.g. home-test, self-test, mail-test, home dried blood spot test). Abstracts will be reviewed against inclusion criteria in duplicate. Data will be manually extracted through a standard form and then entered to an open access relational map ( When new and sufficient evidence emerges which addresses existing knowledge gaps, we will complete a review on a relevant topic.

Discussion: This innovative approach will allow rapid cataloguing, documenting and dissemination of new evidence and key findings as they emerge into the public domain.

Systematic review registration: This protocol has not been registered with PROSPERO as they do not register systematic maps.

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