Crowdsourcing HIV test promotion videos: A noninferiority randomized controlled trial in China

Weiming Tang, Larry Han, John Best, Ye Zhang, Katie Mollan, Julie Kim, Fengying Liu, Michael Hudgens, Barry Bayus, Fern Terris-Prestholt, Sam Galler, Ligang Yang, Rosanna Peeling, Paul Volberding, Baoli Ma, Huifang Xu, Bin Yang, Shujie Huang, Kevin Fenton, Chongyi WeiJoseph D. Tucker*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    84 Citations (Scopus)


    Background. Crowdsourcing, the process of shifting individual tasks to a large group, may enhance human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing interventions. We conducted a noninferiority, randomized controlled trial to compare first-time HIV testing rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals who received a crowdsourced or a health marketing HIV test promotion video. Methods. Seven hundred twenty-one MSM and transgender participants (≥16 years old, never before tested for HIV) were recruited through 3 Chinese MSM Web portals and randomly assigned to 1 of 2 videos. The crowdsourced video was developed using an open contest and formal transparent judging while the evidence-based health marketing video was designed by experts. Study objectives were to measure HIV test uptake within 3 weeks of watching either HIV test promotion video and cost per new HIV test and diagnosis. Results. Overall, 624 of 721 (87%) participants from 31 provinces in 217 Chinese cities completed the study. HIV test uptake was similar between the crowdsourced arm (37% [114/307]) and the health marketing arm (35% [111/317]). The estimated difference between the interventions was 2.1% (95% confidence interval, -5.4% to 9.7%). Among those tested, 31% (69/225) reported a new HIV diagnosis. The crowdsourced intervention cost substantially less than the health marketing intervention per first-time HIV test (US$131 vs US$238 per person) and per new HIV diagnosis (US$415 vs US$799 per person). Conclusions. Our nationwide study demonstrates that crowdsourcing may be an effective tool for improving HIV testing messaging campaigns and could increase community engagement in health campaigns.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1436-1442
    Number of pages7
    JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), US National Institutes of Health (1R01AI114310-01 to J. T. and C. W.); University of North Carolina (UNC)-South China STD Research Training Centre (Fogarty International Center grant number 1D43TW009532-01 to J. T.); UNC Center for AIDS Research (NIAID grant number 5P30AI050410-13 to J. T., K. M., and M. H.); University of California, San Francisco Center for AIDS Research (NIAID grant number P30 AI027763 to C. W. and P. V.); National Institute of Mental Health (grant number R00MH093201 to C. W.); and the UNC Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University, Morehead School of Medicine, and Tulane University Fogarty Fellowship (FIC grant number R25TW0093 to W. T.). This publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (grant number UL1TR001111).

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2016 The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.


    • China
    • HIV
    • crowdsourcing
    • men who have sex with men
    • testing


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