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Free Content Impact of a national HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) campaign on VCT in a rural hospital in Tanzania

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Summary Objective 

To evaluate the impact of a national HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) campaign on presentation to HIV care in a rural population in Tanzania. Methods 

Retrospective analysis of data of the VCT and of the National AIDS Control Programme registers of the St. Francis Designated District Hospital at Ifakara for the two 6-month periods before (2007) and after (2008) the National VCT Campaign. Results 

There were 4354 individuals presenting at St. Francis Hospital tested for HIV; 2065 (47.4%) before the VCT Campaign and 2289 (52.6%) afterwards. The overall HIV test positivity was 24.6% and higher in 2007 than in 2008 (26%vs. 23%, P = 0.034). This rate was much higher than the Tanzanian National HIV prevalence of 5.7%. Of 1069 individuals who tested HIV-positive, the proportion of married, divorced or widowed individuals and those who lived further than 10 km from the hospital increased from 2007 to 2008. In 356 HIV-infected persons with available data, the median CD4 cell count increased from 137 to 163 cells/mm3 (P = 0.058), while the WHO clinical stage was similar in both periods. Enroling into the National AIDS Control Programme was significantly more common in 2008 (42%vs. 30%, P < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, the only positive predictor of testing HIV positive when presenting for care after the National VCT Campaign was being married (OR 1.61, 95%CI 1.21–2.15, P = 0.001) or divorced/widowed compared to single (OR 4.58, 95% CI 3.00–8.12, P < 0.001). Conclusions 

Our results suggest that the National VCT Campaign raised awareness and readiness to test for HIV in a remote rural setting and that the HIV-positive test rate is much higher in conjunction with a specific HIV care programme.

Keywords: HIV; Tanzania; rural; voluntary counselling and testing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Swiss Tropical Institute, University Basel, Basel, Switzerland 2:  St. Francis Designated District Hospital, Ifakara, United Republic of Tanzania 3:  Ifakara Health Institute, Ifakara, United Republic of Tanzania 4:  Division of Infectious Diseases & Hospital Epidemiology University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland 5:  Division of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Berne, Berne, Switzerland

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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