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Summary Objective To assess the acceptance and outcome of voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT) among women who had an unsafe abortion. Method 706 women were provided with post-abortion contraceptive service and offered VCT. We collected data on socioeconomic characteristics and contraceptive use and determined the HIV status of those who accepted VCT. Using a nested case–control design, we compared women who accepted HIV testing with women who did not. To study the association between socioeconomic factors, HIV testing acceptance and condom use in more detail, we did stratified analyses based on age and marital status. Results 58% of the women who had an unsafe abortion accepted HIV testing. Women who earned an income were more likely to accept testing than housewives. Women who accepted testing were more likely to accept using a condom. The HIV prevalence rate was 19% among single women aged 20–24 years and 25% among single women aged 25–45 years. Conclusion HIV testing and condoms were accepted by most women who had an unsafe abortion. The poor reproductive health of these women could be improved by good post-abortion care that includes contraceptive counselling, VCT and condom promotion.