Factors associated with couplesHIV/AIDS counseling and testing in Kanyama compound, Lusaka
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Background: Couples counseling and testing has been widely identified as a key HIV/AIDS prevention and management strategy. However, there has been very low uptake of couples testing in Zambia.Study Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the factors associated with couples counseling and testing in Kanyama Compound.IVIaterials and Methods: A questionnaire was administered among individuals who were invited by the Zambia-Emory HIV Research Programme (ZEHRP) to attend couples counseling sessions at the Ministry of Health run Kanyama clinic. The study questioned both those who were invited and came for counseling as well those who were invited but did not attend counseling as a couple. Further, a qualitative focus-group discussion was held with individuals attending counseling sessions at the clinic. Results: Unavailability of partners to go for couples CT (43%), distance to testing facilities (32%) and lack of transport money to attend couples CT (29%) are the likely major factors that hinder access to services. Social factors (age, socioeconomic, education etc) play a role but do not seem to be key enhancers nor hindrances.Conclusion and Policy Implications: Various interventions are necessary to remove physical barriers to couples testing including workplace programs that enhance testing of working males with their partners. Mainstreaming of services at all health facilities needs to be initiated together with the development of structures and information systems.Limitations: The study population was a convenient sample and subjects were not necessarily representative of the underlying population in Kanyama. Sample size, based on program outreach was small, which precluded more advanced statistical analyses for generalization purposes.
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