Acceptability of routine offer of HIV testing (opt-out approach) among pregnant women in the Wa municipality
AbstractBackground: With the introduction of the opt out HIV testing policy in Ghana, the HIV test is offered routinely to all pregnant women unless they decline testing.
Objective: To assess acceptability of the routine offer of HIV testing antenatal clinic (ANC) clients in the Wa municipality, Ghana.
Design: Cross-sectional study of 270 randomly selected ANC attendees.
Results: More than 90% of respondents were in favour of the opt-out policy. The most commonly cited reasons were that it would help pregnant women know their status and facilitate prevention of mother to child
transmission of HIV (PMTCT). About 60% of respondents had tested for HIV in the current pregnancy with more than 90% reporting that the test was offered them in a manner in which they could have refused the test.
HIV testing in the current pregnancy was associated with having heard of the opt-out policy (p <0.001) and awareness that the test was offered at the facility (p < 0.001), but there was no relationship with educational
level. Out of the 112 clients who had not had HIV test in the current pregnancy, 61.8% claimed the test had not been offered to them while 82.4% expressed willingness to have the test done if offered.
Conclusion: The opt-out HIV testing policy is acceptable to the pregnant women surveyed in the Wa municipality. A well laid out process to ensure that all pregnant women are routinely offered HIV testing at the ANC may help minimize missed opportunities for utilizing PMTCT services.
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