Factors affecting willingness to HIV Counseling and Testing among patients presenting with conventional Sexually Transmitted Infections in Addis Ababa
AbstractBackground: There is ample scientific evidence that a person with an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI), particularly those inducing ulcers or discharge, is at an increased risk of passing on or acquiring HIV during sexual intercourse. HIV counseling and testing (HIV CT) for STI cases is thus an important tool in the public health response to HIV/AIDS.
Objective: To assess factors affecting willingness towards HIV CT among patients with conventional STIs in Addis Ababa.
Methods: A cross-sectional study, involving 422 STI cases, was conducted in Addis Ababa from December 2006 to April 2007. STI patients were consecutively selected during an outpatient visit in ten government health centers, which were purposively selected mainly on the basis of their high STI case load. A pre-tested, interviewer administered, structured questionnaire was applied for data collection. The Pearson chi-square test was used to assess statistical significance of associations between willingness towards HIV CT and respondents’ socio-demographic status, knowledge, and behavior. Moreover, bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were done to identify predictors of willingness for HIV CT. For all statistical significance tests, the cut- off value set was p<0.05.
Results: Nearly 74% of STI patients said that they would be willing to undergo HIV CT at the time or 3 months after their STI diagnosis. Furthermore, 97.4% and 71.8% of STI patients had heard about HIV/AIDS and STIs, respectively. The majority, 93% of STI patients knew at least one prevention method, and 61.2% identified all the three major methods for preventing HIV/AIDS. Overall, 43.8% of the STI patients had at least one misconception, and 38% had comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Ever tested for HIV and being in the age group of 15-34 years were found to be significantly and positively associated with willingness towards HIV CT whereas perceiving small or moderate chance of contracting HIV infection was found to have a significant and negative association.
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicated the need for promotion and expansion of sustainable provider initiated HIV CT with subsequent follow up of STI patients as part of a range of services and support, and intensive patient-centered risk reduction counseling for STI patients during the initial visit to health care facilities. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2011;25(2):116-125]