Willingness to accept HIV testing among caretakers with a child attending the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka,Zambia

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Banda, Jaqueline Muchiliko
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BACKGROUND: Just 28 percent of Zambian adults aged 15-49 know their HIV status. Those who do not know they are infected with HIV can spread the virus to many others before they become ill, and without early diagnosis may not get the treatment and care they require. In spite of all efforts put in place in the prevention of HIV, the numbers of adults accessing voluntary counselling and test-ing has remained low and the HIV prevalence remains high at 14.3 percent. The 2005 Zambia Sexual and Behaviour Survey showed that only 15 percent of women and 11 percent of men have ever been tested for HIV. With all these efforts in place the question that comes to mind is why so few have ever been tested, studies have looked at various factors and none have consistently been associated with testing or not. This brings to light the issue of willingness, are individuals willing to accept the test. METHODS: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study whose main objective was to determine willingness to accept HIV testing among caretakers bringing a child to the University Teaching Hos-pital Paediatric department. 241 caretakers who consented to participate in the study were re-cruited from the paediatric admission ward a structured questionnaire to collect data was ad-ministered. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16. RESULTS: All the 241 caretakers approached to participate agreed to take part in the study though only 239 were considered valid during the analysis, 69 percent (165/ 239) were willing to accept an HIV test for themselves. 99 percent (239/239) caretakers were willing to have routine HIV testing and counselling as part of the hospital services. 98 percent (234/239) of caretakers were willing to have siblings of the child tested. The main fear for not going for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) or accepting an HIV test was death. 226 of the caretakers interviewed were female and only 15 were male.233 out of 239 had been tested 157 were prompted to have an HIV test for ANC/MCH reasons compared to 46 who voluntarily went for VCT. CONCLUSION: There is a general willingness to accepting HIV testing among caretakers of chil-dren attending the University Teaching Hospital Paediatric department, the majority need to be prompted to actually take the test and therefore RTC should be implemented in all health facilities
AIDS (Disease) --Prevention. , AIDS (Disease) --Serodiagnosis. , Medical screening.