Integrating family planning and HIV services at the community level: formative assessment with village health teams in Uganda
Little is known on integrating HIV and family planning (FP) services in community settings. Using a cluster randomized controlled design, we conducted a formative assessment in two districts in Uganda where community health workers, called VHTs, already offered FP. Thirty-six trained VHTs also provided HIV testing and counseling (HTC) during the intervention. We surveyed all 36 VHTs and 256 FP clients, and reviewed service statistics. In the intervention group, VHTs tested 80% of surveyed clients for HIV, including 76% they already saw for FP and 22% who first came to them for HTC before receiving FP. Comparing clients‘ experiences in the intervention and control groups, adding HTC does not appear to have negatively affected FP service quality. VHTs reported more monthly clients, but rated their workload as easy to manage. This integrated model seems feasible and beneficial for both VHTs and clients, while not resulting in any negative effects. This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number [NCT02244398].
Keywords: family planning, HIV, community health workers, integration, Uganda