HIV testing

We are conducting a cluster randomised controlled trial in Mokhotlong district, Lesotho, to evaluate a newly developed community-based intervention program to integrate HIV-testing and treatment services, early childhood care and development, and nutrition education for caregivers with children aged 1-5 years living in rural villages. Caregivers and their children are randomly assigned by village to intervention or control condition. We select, train, and supervise community health workers recruited to implement the intervention, which consists of nine group-based sessions with caregivers and children over 12 weeks (eight weekly sessions, and a ninth top-up session 1 month later), followed by a locally hosted community health outreach day event. This study provides a unique opportunity to assess the potential of an integrated early childhood development intervention to prevent or mitigate developmental delays in children living in a context of extreme poverty and high HIV rates in rural Lesotho. This paper presents the intervention content and research protocol for the study.

Abstract HIV testing services (HTS) are an essential component of a national response to the HIV epidemic, and in lower and middle income countries, at least 150 million persons are tested annually. HIV testing is necessary to identify persons in need of antiretroviral treatment, which has been documented to be highly effective not only for treatment but also for prevention of HIV transmission to both adults and children. An assessment of the recent literature on sustainability of health and HIV services suggests that organizational performance, flexibility, and integration with other health interventions contribute to sustainability of HIV services and programs. This article describes the experiences of two HIV testing service providers in Uganda and Zambia as well as the track record of services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission to illustrate the factors of performance, flexibility, adaptability, and integration which are key to the sustainability of HIV testing services.

Beginning in 2003, Uganda used Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) to assist district managers collect and use data to improve their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS program. Uganda's LQAS-database (2003–2012) covers up to 73 of 112 districts. Our multidistrict analysis of the LQAS data-set at 2003–2004 and 2012 examined gender variation among adults who ever tested for HIV over time, and attributes associated with testing. Conditional logistic regression matched men and women by community with seven model effect variables. HIV testing prevalence rose from 14% (men) and 12% (women) in 2003–2004 to 62% (men) and 80% (women) in 2012. In 2003–2004, knowing the benefits of testing, knowing where to get tested, and secondary education were significantly associated with HIV testing. By 2012, knowing the benefits of testing, where to get tested, primary education, being female, and being married were significantly associated with HIV testing. HIV testing prevalence in Uganda has increased dramatically, more for women than men. Our results concurred with other authors that education, knowledge of HIV, and marriage (women only) are associated with testing for HIV and suggest that couples testing is more prevalent than other authors found.

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