Acceptability of voluntary HIV testing with counselling in a rural village in Kagera, Tanzania
Killewo,J.Z|Kwesigabo,G|Comoro,C.J|Lugalla, F|Mhalu, S|Biberfelds, G|Sandstrom,A Wall /
Abstract A pilot study on acceptability of voluntary HIV testing with counselling was performed in a rural village in Kagera, Tanzania as a potential intervention against HIV transmission. Village residents were prepared by their leaders and subsequently invited to health education group meetings to volunteer for the test. Consenting individuals were interviewed to determine awareness and acceptance of the offer followed by pre-test counselling and taking of a blood sample for subsequent HIV testing. Two months later, the results of the test were returned with post-test counselling coupled with a short interview of a random sample of adults in the village. Of the 245 adults responding to the call, 137 (55.9%) subsequently volunteered. The main reason for volunteering was to know the HIV status (96%). Among those who were aware of the offer, the main reason for not volunteering was that they felt unlikely to catch AIDS, implying that they had a false perception of being at low risk. In this study a significant proportion were willing to volunteer for the HIV test and to receive the results, indicating a moderate level of acceptability. The results also indicate the need for developing innovative ways of enhancing acceptability of voluntary HIV testing with counselling. However, the relationship between knowledge of HIV status and behavioural change is complex and therefore several potential mechanisms may exist by which HIV testing in combination with counselling can influence behaviour. For this reason, people should be given the choice of knowing their HIV status since it may constitute a potential mechanism for influencing behaviour towards reduction of HIV transmission.
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