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Acceptability of routine HIV counselling and testing among a sample of South African students: Testing the Health Belief Model

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Routine HIV counseling and testing (RCT) is a necessary first step in accessing health care for persons who may test HIV-positive. Despite the availability of RCT in many South African settings, uptake has often been low. We sought to determine whether the main components of the Health Belief Model (HBM), namely perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits and perceived barriers could predict acceptance of RCT, and whether cues to action predicted uptake of RCT. A sample of 1 113 students at a large South African university completed a battery of instruments measuring acceptability of RCT, previous uptake of HIV testing, and the various HBM variables. Regression analysis showed that perceived susceptibility to HIV, perceived severity of HIV, perceived benefits of RCT, and perceived barriers to RCT explained 25.1% of the variance in acceptance of RCT. The findings of the study are located in the context of existing literature on RCT.

Keywords: Health Belief Model; South Africa; routine HIV counselling and testing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, PO Box 19063, Tygerberg, 7505, South Africa 2: Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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