Using behavioural science to increase demand for free HIV Testing Services at private General Practitioners in Johannesburg, South Africa

Partner organizations: Foundation for Professional Development (FPD)



Study objectives: To determine whether HTS demand creation material that leverages behavioural science principles will increase the demand for HIV testing at GP practices.



Intervention description: There will be two intervention groups and one standard of care group:


  • Health screening checks: Participants will be offered a brochure that bundles free HIV testing with other desirable health services (such as blood pressure, rapid glucose, HIV tests, and assessments for body mass index). This approach seeks to address stigma associated with HIV testing while also offering other valued health services.
  • Recipient of care voucher: Participants will receive a redeemable voucher that highlights the monetary value of the free HIV test (100 ZAR or 7 USD). This approach highlights the monetary value of the free services and seeks to leverage the endowment effect and loss aversion.
  • Standard of care: Participants will receive the standard of care (SOC) promotion materials for HIV testing, including a Your Care Network (YCN) brochure advertising free HTS and ART services for those that test positive, a website link, a Facebook page and standard signage and posters outside participating GP practices.



Evaluation description: A randomized controlled trial to rapidly test two low-cost behaviourally framed intervention strategies compared with the SOC.



Study outcomes: The primary outcome will be presentation at the GP practice. Secondary outcomes will include HIV testing uptake, yield of new HIV-positive diagnoses, and yield of people living with HIV (PLHIV) who initiate ART.



Study site: The study will be conducted at approximately five YCN GP practices within the Johannesburg Health District.



Target population:

Inclusion criteria: YCN field workers will approach individuals or groups within the catchment areas of GP practices who meet the following criteria:

  • Adults (≥18 years old)
  • Willing to engage with the field worker to learn about the GP practice
  • Willing to accept an envelope containing promotion materials

Exclusion criteria:

  • Individuals who refuse to engage with an YCN field worker 



Sample size: We will seek to enrol 12,000 adults in the vicinity of the GP practices; 4,000 individuals per study group.