Barriers and attitudes towards HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) among Secondary School Pupils of Sengerema in Mwanza

  • S Omary


OBJECTIVE: To determine barriers and attitudes towards voluntary counseling and HIV-testing among secondary school students in Sengerema district. METHODOLOGY: A cross-sectional study was done in Sengerema district, Mwanza August 2006. A total of 400 secondary school students from the two schools Sengerema district, Mwanza from August to September 2006 were included in the study. By using simple random sampling technique, two secondary schools (Sima and Tuitange) were selected and enrolled in the study. After a verbal consent from each interviewee as well as observing confidentiality to the information data was collected using a pre tested Swahili questionnaire. Data analysis was done using EPI INFO 2002. RESULTS: A total of 400 students from the two secondary schools were interviewed. Out of the 400 students 54% were females. The majority (95.8%) of these students knew that VCT is necessary and a large number (33.8%) of them gave a reason to get HIV education as a reason for HIV services. Only a small number (4.2%) of the students thought that VCT is not necessary with (47.8%) said it to be against the religious teachings. A large proportion (65.8%) of the students knew VCT sites in Sengerema district but only a few (24.3%) of them ever used available VCT services. Of those who ever used VCT services 32.7% were just interested in knowing their HIV status and to get HIV education and only a small number (6.2%) of students used VCT services because they were pressurized by their spouses. For those who never used VCT services (41.8%) said they feared being labeled as HIV positive and 34.9% said these services were not meant for students. It was also observed in this study that VCT services were more accepted among female students than male students. CONCLUSION: From the findings it is concluded that a large number of students knew that VCT use is necessary and the acceptance of VCT among the students is influenced by age where younger students were more willing to use VCT services than older students. The use of VCT services is positively correlated with the level of education and that though a large number of students knew that VCT services are necessary only a small number of students use VCT services. It is recommended that much more effort should be emphasized on encouraging young people to use VCT services.

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