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Determinants of HIV Counseling and Testing Uptake among Individuals in Long-Term Sexual Relationships in Uganda

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Introduction: Studies show that HIV counseling and testing (HCT) can improve linkage to HIV prevention, care and treatment services. However, uptake of HCT among couples remains low in most settings. We investigated the determinants of HCT uptake among individuals in long-term relationships in two districts in Uganda.

Methods: This case-control study was conducted among 787 (400 in Kampala and 387 in Soroti) individuals in long-term sexual relationships, aged 18-54 years, using interviewer-administered questionnaires. Cases were individuals who had ever tested for HIV (selected from health facility records and traced in the community for interview) while controls were individuals who had never tested for HIV, identified from the same community as the cases. Data were collected on sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics; entered into FoxPro and analyzed using STATA version 12.1. We performed multivariable logistic regression to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% Confidence Intervals (95%CI) associated with prior HCT and couples’ HCT uptake, controlling for suspected confounders.

Results: Of the 787 participants, 522 had ever tested for HIV (cases) while 265 had never tested for HIV (controls). Compared to those that had never tested for HIV, those that had ever tested for HIV were significantly more likely to be females (Adj. OR=3.23, 95%CI: 2.27, 4.60), to be 25-29 years old (Adj. OR=2.15, 95%CI: 1.32, 3.50), to report exposure to a couples’ HCT promotional campaign (Adj. OR=2.01, 95%CI: 1.30, 3.10) and to believe that HIV discordance is possible among married couples (Adj. OR=1.77, 95%CI: 1.20, 2.63). Compared to individuals that had ever received individual HCT, those that had ever received couples’ HCT were significantly more likely to report prior discussion of HIV testing with partner (Adj. OR=4.35, 95%CI: 2.61, 7.28) and to be residents of Soroti district (Adj. OR=6.01, 95%CI: 3.74, 9.65).

Conclusion: Prior HCT was significantly associated with female gender and exposure to a couples’ HCT promotional campaign while prior couples’ HCT was significantly associated with prior discussion of HIV testing with partner. To increase HIV testing among couples, these findings suggest a need for HCT promotional campaigns that promote communication about HCT between partners.

Keywords: Couple; HCT; Uganda; determinants

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • Current HIV Research aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments of HIV research. We invite comprehensive review articles and novel, pioneering work in the basic and clinical fields on all areas of HIV research, including virus replication and gene expression, HIV assembly, virus-cell interaction, viral pathogenesis, epidemiology and transmission, anti-retroviral therapy and adherence, drug discovery, the latest developments in HIV/AIDS vaccines and animal models, mechanisms and interactions with AIDS related diseases, social and public health issues related to HIV disease, and prevention of viral infection. Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews and original research written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on HIV research. Periodically, the journal will invite guest editors to devote an issue on a particular area of HIV research of great interest that increases our understanding of the virus and its complex interaction with the host.
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