Perception of Routine HIV Counselling and Testing for Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV Infection in Rivers State, South-South, Nigeria
Nigeria is ranked the second most HIV/AIDS affected country in the world with 3.5million adults living with the virus and a very high prevalence among young girls and women of the reproductive age groups. Introducing
HIV counselling and testing services within existing maternal and child health care package is therefore, a priority intervention for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the HIV virus in Nigeria, because it provides opportunity for informed decision-making about options for delivery and infant feeding. This study is aimed at determining the perception, acceptance and satisfaction with the HIV counselling and testing services offered in PMTCT centres in Rivers State, Nigeria. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at three PMTCT centres in the State, using a semi-structured and pre-tested questionnaire adapted from the National Guidelines for VCT services in Nigeria. Acceptance rate of HIV testing was high (89%), and the degree of satisfaction with services provided was also high (98.6%). However, three major barriers to accessing the services were identified as distance from home 31.7%, cost of transportation to clinics 20.1% and long waiting time to receive test results (16.5%). Overall, 98.1% would recommend the services to other pregnant women. Women were mostly satisfied with the pre-test counselling for HIV and there was high acceptance of HIV testing among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Rivers State. This is calling for the training of more counsellors to meet the different individual counselling needs and to scale up PMTCT services to the primary health centres, nearer to the people for maximum benefits.
Key words: Perceptions, VCT, PMTC services, Rivers State, Nigeria