The effectiveness of social marketing interventions to improve HIV testing among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: a systematic review

Lisa McDaid, Julie Riddell, Gemma Teal, Nicola Boydell, Nicky Coia, Paul Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


HIV testing is central to biomedical HIV prevention, but testing among men who have sex with men remains suboptimal. We evaluated effectiveness of mass media and communication interventions to increase HIV testing and explored patterns between study type, internal validity and intervention effectiveness for the first time. Five databases were searched for articles published between 2009 and 2016 using standard MeSH terms. Eligible studies were quality appraised using standard checklists for risk of bias. Data were extracted and synthesised narratively. Nineteen studies met inclusion criteria; 11 were cross-sectional/non-comparative studies, four were pre/post or interrupted time series, three were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and one was a case study. Risk of bias was high. Five cross-sectional (two graded as high internal validity, one medium and two low) and one RCT (medium validity) reported increased HIV testing. Further work is required to develop and evaluate interventions to increase frequency and maintenance of HIV testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2273-2303
Number of pages31
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number9
Early online date20 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • communications
  • HIV testing
  • mass media
  • men who have sex with men
  • social marketing
  • systematic review

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