Evaluation of a home-based voluntary counseling and testing intervention in rural Uganda

Medical Research Council, P.O. 49, Entebbe, Uganda.
Health Policy and Planning (Impact Factor: 3.47). 04/2005; 20(2):109-16. DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czi013
Source: PubMed


Uptake of HIV test results from an annual serosurvey of a population study cohort in rural southwestern Uganda had never exceeded 10% in any given year since inception in 1989. An intervention offering counselling and HIV results at home was conducted in four study villages following the 2001 serosurvey round, and followed by a qualitative evaluation exploring nature of demand and barriers to knowing HIV status.
Data from annual serosurveys and counsellor records are analyzed to estimate the impact of the intervention on uptake of HIV test results. Textual data are analyzed from 21 focus group discussions among counsellors, and men and women who had received HIV test results, requested but not yet received, and never requested; and 34 in-depth interviews equally divided among those who had received test results either from counselling offices and homes.
Offering HIV results at home significantly increased uptake of results from 10 to 37% for all adults aged 15 (p<0.001), and 46% of those age 25 to 54. Previous male advantage in uptake of test results was effectively eliminated. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews highlight substantial non-monetary costs of getting HIV results from high-visibility public facilities prior to intervention. Inconvenience, fear of stigmatization, and emotional vulnerability of receiving results from public facilities were the most common explanations for the relative popularity of home-based voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). It is seen as less appropriate for youth and couples with conflicting attitudes toward testing.
Home delivery of results revealed significantly higher demand to know HIV status than stubbornly low uptake figures from the past would suggest. Integrating VCT into other services, locating testing centres in less visible surroundings, or directly confronting stigma surrounding testing may be less expensive ways to reproduce increased uptake with home VCT.

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Available from: AJ Ruberantwari, Jul 30, 2015
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    • "This suggests that some men may have confidence to test publicly to prove their sero-negativity but might want to avoid testing in the presence of others if they expect a positive HIV test result. However, in some cases, what might distinguish such people is usually their decision to ignore what others think [36]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Uptake of HIV testing by men remains low in high prevalence settings in many parts of Africa. By focusing on masculinity, this study explores the social context and relations that shape men's access to HIV testing in Mam-Kiror, Busia district, rural eastern Uganda. From 2009-2010 in-depth interviews were undertaken with 26 men: nine being treated for HIV, eight who had tested but dropped out of treatment, six not tested but who suspected HIV infection and three with other health problems unrelated to HIV. These data were complemented by participant observation. Thematic analysis was undertaken. There were two main categories of masculinity in Mam-Kiror, one based on 'reputation' and the other on 'respectability', although some of their ideals overlapped. The different forms of masculine esteem led to different motives for HIV testing. Men positioned HIV testing as a social process understood within the social context and relationships men engaged in rather than an entirely self-determined enterprise. Wives' inferior power meant that they had less influence on men's testing compared to friends and work colleagues who discussed frankly HIV risk and testing. Couple testing exposed men's extra-marital relationships, threatening masculine esteem. The fear to undermine opportunities for sex in the context of competition for partners was a barrier to testing by men. The construction of men as resilient meant that they delayed to admit to problems and seek testing. However, the respectable masculine ideal to fulfil responsibilities and obligations to family was a strong motivator to seeking an HIV test and treatment by men. The two main forms of masculine ideals prevailing in Mam-Kiror in Busia led men to have different motives for HIV testing. Reputational masculinity was largely inconsistent with the requirements of couple testing, community outreach testing and the organisation of testing services, discouraging men from testing. Conversely, concern to perform one's family roles as a respectable man meant accessing treatment to extend one's life, which encouraged men to test. HIV support agencies should reflect on how various testing options might marginalise men from seeking testing services and address the barriers that hinder access.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · BMC Public Health
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    • "We found that home-based couples HIV counseling and testing, which includes support for mutual disclosure, was seen as acceptable and feasible by health care providers, pregnant women, and their male partners. This aligns with previous research in sub-Saharan Africa showing that home-based counseling HIV testing (HBCT) is effective, feasible to deliver, and acceptable to the target populations [24,30,48]. However, the highly stigmatizing nature of HIV requires that these home-based programs take special measures to protect confidentiality [31,34,49-51]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Women's ability to safely disclose their HIV-positive status to male partners is essential for uptake and continued use of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services. However, little is known about the acceptability of potential approaches for facilitating partner disclosure. To lay the groundwork for developing an intervention, we conducted formative qualitative research to elicit feedback on three approaches for safe HIV disclosure for pregnant women and male partners in rural Kenya. This qualitative acceptability research included in-depth interviews with HIV-infected pregnant women (n = 20) and male partners of HIV-infected women (n = 20) as well as two focus groups with service providers (n = 16). The participants were recruited at health care facilities in two communities in rural Nyanza Province, Kenya, during the period June to November 2011. Data were managed in NVivo 9 and analyzed using a framework approach, drawing on grounded theory. We found that facilitating HIV disclosure is acceptable in this context, but that individual participants have varying expectations depending on their personal situation. Many participants displayed a strong preference for couples HIV counseling and testing (CHCT) with mutual disclosure facilitated by a trained health worker. Home-based approaches and programs in which pregnant women are asked to bring their partners to the healthcare facility were equally favored. Participants felt that home-based CHCT would be acceptable for this rural setting, but special attention must be paid to how this service is introduced in the community, training of the health workers who will conduct home visits, and confidentiality. Pregnant couples should be given different options for assistance with HIV disclosure. Home-based CHCT could serve as an acceptable method to assist women and men with safe disclosure of HIV status. These findings can inform the design and implementation of programs geared at promoting HIV disclosure among pregnant women and partners, especially in the home-setting.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · BMC Public Health
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    • "; Tumwesigye, Wana, Kasasa, Muganzi, & Nuwaha, 2010; Were et al., 2003, 2006; Wolff et al., 2005); this includes a high uptake of couple counselling and testing, which represents an effective strategy for reducing sexually transmitted infections and HIV transmission within married or cohabiting couples (Allen, Serufilira et al., 1992, Allen, Tuce et al, 1992). The only published cluster randomized trial on home-based VCT was conducted in an urban setting in Zambia within the framework of a population-based HIV survey. "
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    ABSTRACT: Home-based voluntary HIV counselling and testing (HB-VCT) has been reported to have a high uptake, but it has not been rigorously evaluated. We designed a model for HB-VCT appropriate for wider scale-up, and investigated the acceptance of home-based counselling and testing, equity in uptake and negative life events with a cluster-randomized trial. Thirty six rural clusters in southern Zambia were pair-matched based on baseline data and randomly assigned to the intervention or the control arm. Both arms had access to standard HIV testing services. Adults in the intervention clusters were offered HB-VCT by local lay counsellors. Effects were first analysed among those participating in the baseline and post-intervention surveys and then as intention-to-treat analysis. The study was registered with, number ISRCTN53353725. A total of 836 and 858 adults were assigned to the intervention and control clusters, respectively. In the intervention arm, counselling was accepted by 85% and 66% were tested (n = 686). Among counselled respondents who were cohabiting with the partner, 62% were counselled together with the partner. At follow-up eight months later, the proportion of adults reporting to have been tested the year prior to follow-up was 82% in the intervention arm and 52% in the control arm (Relative Risk (RR) 1.6, 95% CI 1.4-1.8), whereas the RR was 1.7 (1.4-2.0) according to the intention-to-treat analysis. At baseline the likelihood of being tested was higher for women vs. men and for more educated people. At follow-up these differences were found only in the control communities. Measured negative life events following HIV testing were similar in both groups. In conclusion, this HB-VCT model was found to be feasible, with a very high acceptance and to have important equity effects. The high couple counselling acceptance suggests that the home-based approach has a particularly high HIV prevention potential.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Social Science [?] Medicine
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