Home-based HIV voluntary counseling and testing in developing countries

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Francois Xavier Bagnoud Ctr-Guyana Care and Treatment Network, 110 Duke and Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2007; 4(4):CD006493. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006493.pub2
Source: PubMed


The low uptake of HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), an effective HIV prevention intervention, has hindered global attempts to prevent new HIV infections, as well as limiting the scale-up of HIV care and treatment for the estimated 38 million infected persons. According to UNAIDS, only 10% of HIV-infected individuals worldwide are aware of their HIV status. At this point in the HIV epidemic, a renewed focus has shifted to prevention, and with it, a focus on methods to increase the uptake of HIV VCT. This review discusses home-based HIV VCT delivery models, which, given the low uptake of facility-based testing models, may be an effective avenue to get more patients on treatment and prevent new infections.
(1) To identify and critically appraise studies addressing the implementation of home-based HIV voluntary counseling and testing in developing countries.(2) To determine whether home-based HIV voluntary counseling and testing (HBVCT) is associated with improvement in HIV testing outcomes compared to facility-based models.
We searched online for published and unpublished studies in MEDLINE (February 2007), EMBASE (February 2007), CENTRAL (February 2007). We also searched databases listing conference proceedings and abstracts; AIDSearch (February 2007), The Cochrane Library (Issue 2, 2007), LILACS, CINAHL and Sociofile. We also contacted authors who have published on the subject of review.
We searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized trials (e.g., cohort, pre/post-intervention and other observational studies) comparing home-based HIV VCT against other testing models.
We independently selected studies, assessed study quality and extracted data. We expressed findings as odds ratios (OR), and relative Risk (RR) together with their 95% confidence intervals (CI).
We identified one cluster-randomized trial and one pre/post-intervention (cohort) study, which were included in the review. An additional two ongoing RCTs were identified. All identified studies were conducted in developing countries. The two included studies comprised one cluster-randomized trial conducted in an urban area in Lusaka, Zambia and one pre/post-intervention (cohort) study, part of a rural community cohort in Southwestern Uganda. The two studies, while differing in methodology, found very high acceptability and uptake of VCT when testing and or results were offered at home, compared to the standard (facility-based testing and results). In the cluster-randomized trial (n=849), subjects randomized to an optional testing location (including home-based testing) were 4.6 times more likely to accept VCT than those in the facility arm (RR 4.6, 95% CI 3.6-6.2). Similarly, in the pre/post study (n=1868) offering participants the option of home delivery of results increased VCT uptake. In the intervention year (home delivery) participants were 5.23 times more likely to receive their results than during the year when results were available only at the facility. (OR 5.23 95% CI 4.02-6.8).
Home-based testing and/or delivery of HIV test results at home, rather than in clinics, appears to lead to higher uptake in testing. However, given the limited extant literature and the limitations in the included existing studies, there is not sufficient evidence to recommend large-scale implementation of the home-based testing model.

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    • "Empirical evidence has demonstrated the public health benefits of HIV testing such as reduction in risky sexual behaviour [7,8] and linking HIV infected individuals to HIV care, treatment and support [9,10]. In Africa, however, low access and limited reach of facility-based HIV testing services have been an impediments to global attempts to prevent HIV transmission and scale-up of HIV care and treatment at population level [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: HIV testing is a key component of prevention and an entry point into HIV/AIDS treatment and care however, coverage and access to testing remains low in Uganda. Home-Based HIV Counseling and Testing (HBHCT) has potential to increase access and early identification of unknown HIV/AIDS disease. This study investigated the level of acceptance of Home-Based HIV Counseling and Testing (HBHCT), the HIV sero-prevalence and the factors associated with acceptance of HBHCT in an urban setting. A cross-sectional house-to-house survey was conducted in Rubaga division of Kampala from January-June 2009. Residents aged ≥ 15 years were interviewed and tested for HIV by trained nurse-counselors using the national standard guidelines. Acceptance of HBHCT was defined as consenting, taking the HIV test and receipt of results offered during the home visit. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to determine significant factors associated with acceptance of HBHCT. We enrolled 588 participants, 408 (69%, 95% CI: 66%-73%) accepted testing. After adjusting for confounding, being male (adj. OR 1.65; 95%CI 1.03, 2.73), age 25-34 (adj. OR 0.63; 95% CI 0.40, 0.94) and ≥35 years (adj. OR 0.30; 95%CI 0.17, 0.56), being previously married (adj. OR 3.22; 95%CI 1.49, 6.98) and previous HIV testing (adj. OR 0.50; 95%CI 0.30, 0.74) were significantly associated with HBHCT acceptance. Of 408 who took the test, 30 (7.4%, 95% CI: 4.8%- 9.9%) previously unknown HIV positive individuals were identified and linked to HIV care. Acceptance of home-based counseling and testing was relatively high in this urban setting. This strategy provided access to HIV testing for previously untested and unknown HIV-infected individuals in the community. Age, sex, marital status and previous HIV test history are important factors that may be considered when designing programs for home-based HIV testing in urban settings in Uganda.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Home based VCT involves the use of lay counselors or community health workers to provide counseling and testing. The counselors and testers move from door to door, provide pre-test counseling, and take consent from eligible family members [10]. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the family-based model [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In Uganda, public human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services are mainly provided through the facility based model, although the home based approach is being promoted as a strategy for improving access to VCT. However the uptake of VCT varies according to service delivery model and is influenced by a number of factors. The aim of this study therefore, was to compare predictors for uptake of facility and home based VCT in a rural context. A longitudinal study with cross-sectional investigative phases was conducted at two sites (Rugando and Kabingo) in southwestern Uganda between November 2007 (baseline) and March 2008 (follow up). During the baseline visit, facility based VCT was offered at the main health centre in Rugando while home based VCT was offered at the household level in Kabingo and a mixed survey questionnaire administered to the respondents. The results presented in this paper are derived from only the baseline data. Nine hundred ninety four (994) respondents were interviewed, of whom 500 received facility based VCT in Rugando and 494 home based VCT in Kabingo during the baseline visit. The respondents had a mean age of 32.2 years (SD 10.9) and were mainly female (68 percent). Clients who received facility based VCT were less likely to be residents of the more rural households (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR)=0.14, 95% CI 0.07, 0.22). The clients who received home based VCT were less likely to report having an STI symptom (aOR=0.63, 95% CI 0.46, 0.86), and more likely to be worried about discrimination if they contracted AIDS (aOR=1.78, 95% CI 1.22, 2.61). The uptake of VCT provided through either the facility or home based models is influenced by client characteristics such as proximity to service delivery points, HIV related symptoms, and fear of discrimination in rural Uganda. Interventions that seek to improve uptake of VCT should provide potential clients with both facility and home based VCT options within a given setting. The clients are then able to select a model for VCT that best fits their characteristics. This is likely to have positive implications for both service coverage and uptake by different sub-groups within particular communities.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · BMC Health Services Research
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    • "The present findings showed comparable acceptability effects in rural settings. Similar findings have been reported in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa where offering home-based VCT has lead to increased use [11,18,19,30,31]. Health care facilities are the most frequently used location for VCT, and these findings are indicating strong acceptability barriers of clinic-based VCT and thus might be an important explanation for low HIV testing demands in sub-Saharan Africa. "
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    ABSTRACT: Low uptake of voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT) in sub-Saharan Africa is raising acceptability concerns which might be associated with ways by which it is offered. We investigated the acceptability of home-based delivery of counselling and HIV testing in urban and rural populations in Zambia where VCT has been offered mostly from local clinics. A population-based HIV survey was conducted in selected communities in 2003 (n = 5035). All participants stating willingness to be HIV tested were offered VCT at home and all counselling was conducted in the participants' homes. In the urban area post-test counselling and giving of results were done the following day whereas in rural areas this could take 1-3 weeks. Of those who indicated willingness to be HIV tested, 76.1% (95%CI 74.9-77.2) were counselled and received the test result. Overall, there was an increase in the proportion ever HIV tested from 18% before provision of home-based VCT to 38% after. The highest increase was in rural areas; among young rural men aged 15-24 years up from 14% to 42% vs. for urban men from 17% to 37%. Test rates by educational attainment changed from being positively associated to be evenly distributed after home-based VCT. A high uptake was achieved by delivering HIV counselling and testing at home. The highest uptakes were seen in rural areas, in young people and groups with low educational attainment, resulting in substantial reductions in existing inequalities in accessing VCT services.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · BMC Public Health
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