Open Access Research article

Response rates for providing a blood specimen for HIV testing in a population-based survey of young adults in Zimbabwe

AD McNaghten1*, Joan M Herold23, Hazel M Dube4 and Michael E St Louis1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA

2 Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA

3 Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, USA

4 Operations Research, Family Health International, Harare, Zimbabwe

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:145  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-145

Published: 5 July 2007



To determine differences among persons who provided blood specimens for HIV testing compared with those who did not among those interviewed for the population-based Zimbabwe Young Adult Survey (YAS).


Chi-square analysis of weighted data to compare demographic and behavioral data of persons interviewed who provided specimens for anonymous testing with those who did not. Prevalence estimation to determine the impact if persons not providing specimens had higher prevalence rates than those who did.


Comparing those who provided specimens with those who did not, there was no significant difference by age, residence, education, marital status, perceived risk, sexual experience or number of sex partners for women. A significant difference by sexual experience was found for men. Prevalence estimates did not change substantially when prevalence was assumed to be two times higher for persons not providing specimens.


When comparing persons who provided specimens for HIV testing with those who did not, few significant differences were found. If those who did not provide specimens had prevalence rates twice that of those who did, overall prevalence would not be substantially affected. Refusal to provide blood specimens does not appear to have contributed to an underestimation of HIV prevalence.