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Open Access Research article

Assessment of voluntary counseling and testing service utilization and associated factors among Debre Markos University Students, North West Ethiopia: a cross-sectional survey in 2011

Girmay Tsegay1*, Melkie Edris2 and Solomon Meseret2

Author Affiliations

1 School of public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Debre Markos University, Debre Markos, Ethiopia

2 School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:243  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-243

Published: 19 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) is the key entry point to prevention, care, treatment and support services, where people learn whether they are infected or not and to understand the implications of their HIV status and make informed choices for the future.

Methods

A cross sectional study design was done among 753 students drawn from selected departments in Debre Markos University, Ethiopia, using multi-stage sampling technique. Self-administered questionnaire was used to estimate the prevalence of VCT service utilization and to assess associated factors. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS version 16.

Results

711 students were participated in the study, of whom, 521 were males. Majority (93.8%) were within the age range of 15 to 24 years. The mean age was 21.5 (3.2±); most of the respondents (91.6%) were single. Majority (81.4%) heard about the confidential VCT service, and their major sources of information were mass media (73.3%) and health workers (71.1%). The study revealed that 58.5% of the study participants had undergone voluntary counseling and testing. It was shown that VCT service utilization was significantly associated with availability of ART drug in VCT site, heard presence of confidentiality, perceived stigma, risk perception and knowledge about HIV.

Conclusion

The major factors identified for increased VCT service utilization were knowledge about availability of ART drug in VCT site, information about confidentiality, absence of perceived stigma, higher risk perception and knowledge about HIV. Therefore, actions targeting on these predictors are necessary to effectively enhance the use of the VCT services utilization.

Keywords:
University students; VCT; Utilization; Associated factors