Utilization of HIV Testing and Counseling Services by Men in the Bolgatanga Municipality

Apasera E. and Laar AK (2015)


Background: In the absence of an effective vaccine and cure for HIV, testing and counseling for HIV remains an important intervention in the control of the infection. However, utilization of this service in Ghana is very low especially among men. This study sought to determine the extent of utilization of HIV testing and counseling services among men in the Bolgatanga Municipality, and to document the reasons for their use or non-use of the service. Methods: The study was a population-based cross-sectional survey. A total of 610 men, aged 18 – 59 years residing in Bolgatanga Municipality were randomly selected using multi-stage sampling technique. Data was collected through structured interviews during home visits by the use of a questionnaire over a period of two weeks. Results: Majority of the respondents (99.3%) knew of a test that could identify HIV in an individual; however, 63.6% felt they were at no risk/low risk of being infected with HIV. About 89.8% of those who had heard of HIV test could locate at least one testing centre. Radio/television was the most frequent (68.4%) source of information while the hospital was the most preferred place for testing. Only 27.7% of the respondents had ever tested for HIV of which 99.4% of them had received their test results; 7.7% of men tested within the last 12 months prior to the study. Reasons given by respondents for use or non- use of testing and counseling services included socio-cultural and health service-related reasons, and personal beliefs. Educational and employment statuses of respondents were found to associated with the uptake of HIV testing and counseling services (p<0.001) and the likelihood of testing within the next 12 months (p<0.05). Conclusion: Utilization of HIV testing and counseling services by Men in Bolgatanga Municipality was low. Low perception of HIV risk and fear of stigma and false positive results were the key reasons for not being tested. There is urgent need for formulation of pragmatic policies and strategies that can help improve uptake of testing and counseling.
Source: ugspace.ug.edu.gh/handle