Text messaging to improve attendance at post-operative clinic visits after adult male circumcision for HIV prevention: a randomized controlled trial
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Following male circumcision for HIV prevention, a high proportion of men fail to return for their scheduled seven-day post-operative visit. We evaluated the effect of short message service (SMS) text messages on attendance at this important visit. We enrolled 1200 participants >18 years old in a two-arm, parallel, randomized controlled trial at 12 sites in Nyanza province, Kenya. Participants received daily SMS text messages for seven days (n = 600) or usual care (n = 600). The primary outcome was attendance at the scheduled seven-day post-operative visit. The primary analysis was by intention-to-treat. Of participants receiving SMS, 387/592 (65.4%) returned, compared to 356/596 (59.7%) in the control group (relative risk [RR] = 1.09, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00-1.20; p = 0.04). Men who paid more than US$1.25 to travel to clinic were at higher risk for failure to return compared to those who spent ≤ US$1.25 (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.35, 95% CI 1.15-1.58; p<0.001). Men with secondary or higher education had a lower risk of failure to return compared to those with primary or less education (aRR 0.87, 95% CI 0.74-1.01; p = 0.07). Text messaging resulted in a modest improvement in attendance at the 7-day post-operative clinic visit following adult male circumcision. Factors associated with failure to return were mainly structural, and included transportation costs and low educational level.