Perceived barriers and attitudes of health care providers towards Provider-Initiated HIV Testing and Counseling in Mbeya region, southern highland zone of Tanzania
Background: Provider-initiated testing and counseling (PITC) is a routine HIV testing and counseling, it encompases two strategies including; diagnostic HIV testing and HIV screening. In Tanzania PITC started in 2007, to date it is almost through out the country. This study aimed at assessing the perceived barriers and attitudes of health care providers towards PITC services. Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted for one month between April and May, 2010 in the goverment health care facilities of the Mbeya City Council. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select both health facilities and health care providers. Results: A total of 402 (95%) subjects were interviewed. Their mean (± SD) age was 41 ± 9.5 years, where majority (65%) were females. All the participants reported to be aware about PITC services. However, about 35% of them had negative attitude towards PITC services. Various perceived barriers to effective PITC provision were reported, including; too many patients (57.7%) and inadequate space (46%) for PITC provision. Conclusion: Although PITC is an effective strategy for identification of unrecognized HIV infections, there is still missed opportunity which occurs at the health facilities, as some of health care providers had negative attitude and others faces various barriers in offering the PITC service.
Key words: Attitude, barriers, provider-initiated testing and counseling, HIV, Tanzania