This project will assess whether a digital crowdsourced intervention can reduce HIV stigma and promote HIV
self-testing among adolescents and young adults (AYA). Globally AYA are at increased risk for HIV acquisition.
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), new HIV infections among 15-24 year old AYA are expected to
increase 28% by 2030. In Kazakhstan, one in four HIV infections occur among AYA. Despite the growing HIV
burden among AYA in Kazakhstan, this population has some of the lowest HIV testing rates in the country,
largely due to stigma. Yet few efforts in Kazakhstan address HIV stigma and the role it plays as a barrier to HIV
testing. Digital technologies and crowdsourcing campaigns (i.e., engaging groups of AYA online to address
public health challenges and share solutions) are scalable, cost-effective tools that can increase HIV testing
services and reduce HIV stigma in low and middle income countries (LMICs) and other resource-constrained
settings. Crowdsourcing may be particularly successful among AYA, given their high levels of social media use
and technological literacy. Complementing the crowdsourcing approach, mailing HIV rapid test kits can enable
AYA to avoid the stigma associated with attending the AIDS Center and overcome transportation barriers.
Study aims are: 1) use a community-based participatory approach that engages local AYA and youth
organizations to develop a crowdsourced digital HIV stigma reduction and self-testing intervention to reduce
HIV stigma and increase HIV testing among AYA in Kazakhstan; and 2) to pilot test this crowdsourced HIV
stigma reduction and self-testing intervention in a preliminary efficacy trial to assess feasibility and acceptability
and obtain preliminary estimates of its effects on decreasing HIV stigma (primary outcome) and increasing HIV
testing (secondary outcome) among AYA (n=168) in Kazakhstan who received the intervention compared to
individuals who did not. This work will result in an integrated digital crowdsourced stigma reduction and self-
testing intervention to reduce HIV stigma and improve HIV testing uptake among the key population of AYA in
Kazakhstan. Such an intervention addressing HIV stigma and reducing barriers to HIV testing for AYA could
increase HIV testing uptake among this population in LMICs and domestically.