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Table 3 Overview of participants responses

From: HIV self-testing: South African young adults’ recommendations for ease of use, test kit contents, accessibility, and supportive resources

Themes Illustrative Quotations
HIVST acceptability
 Testing independently “It is good because [HIVST] could reduce the rates of HIV because [some people] are afraid to be tested by other people. It is a good idea because a person will test alone and get the result alone… It’s good because you test at home. If you test positive, no one will know. You will keep it to yourself until you get ready to disclose… It is good for me because my status will be known by me only, if it happens that other people know, it would be me who disclose.” (22-year-old male)
“I am very close to my best friend, so I would like to be with her when I do the test”(20-year old male)
“I cannot tell my best friend, because she has secrets she don’t tell me some of the things about her life, so why should I have to tell her or be with her, it means she don’t trust me so why should I have to trust her, so I will tell one of my brother from the church, I trust him so much.” (18-year-old female)
User preferences
 Preferences for type of kit “I won’t tell my friends to use this test [blood based test] because they can feel the pains after using it. The saliva is better though the time to wait for the results is longer than this blood test. The main thing is getting the proper results as it is easy because you swab the saliva only.” (22-year-old male)
“…We learned that HIV test can be easily be detected through blood or blood contamination. So now we are told that we can use saliva to test HIV. I don’t understand now. That is why people will prefer this blood test. It is the best.” (22-year-old male)
 Where to test Interviewer: “Do you think people of your age may have challenges in finding a place to do the test?”
P14: “They will have difficulties”. (20 years old)
I: “Where would they think they can do the test?”
P18: “They can do it in their rooms.” (20 years old)
P10: “At home sometimes we don’t have enough rooms we share our rooms. It would be better if there is a place like a voting station where we can do our test in private so that everyone will know their status alone. And there should be a dust bin there to throw rubbish in.” (18 years old) (male focus group)
“Just create your own time, and to the test, use the little chance you get. Especially when you bath no you will take your time, people might think that you are bathing.” (21-year-old female)
 Materials accompanying the test kit “There should be a pamphlet in the kit that explains that has counselling message like written life goes on [even if you test positive].” (22-year-old male)
Concerns about HIVST
 Validity of HIVST results “How sure are you about this kit? I don’t trust this kit. Why should I have to go back to the clinic and get tested again after using [the HIVST kit] and [to potentially] test positive? I cannot use [the HIVST]. I’d rather go to the clinic and use blood test, not [the blood HIVST].” (18-year-old male)
“The saliva test is not easy to me because if I test and the results are invalid, will I then go to the clinic to test again? [The reason that] I collected the kit privately was because I wanted to test [on my own] and I don’t want the nurses to know my status or results. So, I [don’t like HIVST]… I want the type of test that I can do alone rather than having to go to the clinic [for confirmation].” (22-year-old, male)
 Lack of emotional support “…I don’t understand this type of test because if I can find out that I am HIV positive the time I do the test privately I will think of a lot of things because there won’t be anyone who will support me or at least [in the clinic] I get counselling that will [tell me] what I should do if I am HIV positive because I can think of committing suicide.” (25-year-old male)
 Costs of test “I think at the clinic and chemist [pharmacy] are good places because this test is also for health.” (18-year-old male)
“I don’t agree about getting the kit at the chemist because not everyone will afford it because we have to buy the kit and mostly youth are unemployed, so they won’t get money to buy those test kit at the chemistry.” (24-year-old male)