Utilization of HIV Testing and Counseling in Ghana: Implications for Universal Coverage
HIV testing and counselling (HTC) is a gateway to all systems of AIDS-related care. This study examined national programme data to highlight gaps in HTC service utilization, regional differences and differential use of various HTC programs in Ghana in the period, 2007-2010. Analysis showed HTC increased rapidly across the country, however the increase was not uniform across the 10 regions. Also huge differential use of current HTC programs (Diagnostic Centre(DCs), Know Your Status campaigns(KYS) and PMTCT Centres) emphasized differential preferences of various testing programmes. Testing through KYS was substantially higher than testing done at DCs. However, HIV positive test rates at DCs were comparatively higher across the regions than those of KYS. KYS thus attracts and conducts huge numbers of HIV tests, yet it captures relatively low HIV positives. A well structured and more targeted expansion of facility-based HTC services to capture most vulnerable population groups is needed. (Afr J Reprod Health 2014; 18: 145-155).
Keywords: HIV testing and counseling, HIV testing programs, regional differences, National AID/STI Control Program, Ghana