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Awareness, willingness and use of Voluntary HIV testing and counseling services by students of a university in south-south Nigeria


DS Ogaji
AS Oyeyemi
I Ibrahim

Abstract

Background: HIV testing and counseling (HTC) is the entry point to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services. HTC can be voluntary or mandatory. This study aimed to determine the awareness, willingness, and use of voluntary HTC (VHTC) services by students of the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State Nigeria.
Method:  A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted in June 2012 using multi-stage random sampling to select 423 students who were administered a pre-tested, structured self-administered questionnaire adapted from the UNAIDS knowledge indicator questionnaire. Information about awareness, willingness and use of VHTC services were elicited from the respondents. Epi-Info 3.5.3 was used for data entry and analysis.
Result:  There was almost universal awareness of HIV (99%) by respondents but a lower proportion (78.4%) were aware of VHTC services and a much lower proportion (14.8%) knew the services were available on the university campus. Furthermore, just about a half (53.8%) had ever undergone HIV testing (Female/male: OR=1.02, 95%CI: 0.68-1.55) and only 26.5% had voluntary HTC (Female/male: OR=1.34, 95%CI: 0.75-2.40). Majority (73.8%) of all respondents expressed willingness to undergo VHTC (significantly more females than males, OR=1.67, 95%CI: 1.04-2.68). Fear of positive result (39.1%) and stigma (25.7%) were the leading demotivators for those unwilling to have VHTC.
Conclusion: Despite high awareness of HIV and voluntary HTC, actual use of VHTC services was low. There is a strong need for more education of the students and indeed the community at large as this would engender a more positive attitude and increased use of available VHTC services on campus.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Voluntary HIV testing and counselling, HTC, undergraduate students, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State

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eISSN: 1115-4608
print ISSN: 0794-7410