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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Voluntary HIV counselling and testing among men in rural western Uganda: Implications for HIV prevention

Francis M Bwambale1, Sarah N Ssali12, Simon Byaruhanga13, Joan N Kalyango14 and Charles AS Karamagi15*

Author Affiliations

1 Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Makerere University, P.O.Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda

2 Department of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University, P.O.Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda

3 Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, P.O.Box 5, Hoima, Uganda

4 Department of Pharmacy, Makerere University, P.O.Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda

5 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Makerere University, P.O.Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:263  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-263

Published: 30 July 2008

Abstract

Background

Voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT) is one of the key strategies in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in Uganda. However, the utilization of VCT services particularly among men is low in Kasese district. We therefore conducted a study to determine the prevalence and factors associated with VCT use among men in Bukonzo West health sub-district, Kasese district.

Methods

A population-based cross-sectional study employing both quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection was conducted between January and April 2005. Using cluster sampling, 780 men aged 18 years and above, residing in Bukonzo West health sub-district, were sampled from 38 randomly selected clusters. Data was collected on VCT use and independent variables. Focus group discussions (4) and key informant interviews (10) were also conducted. Binary logistic regression was performed to determine the predictors of VCT use among men.

Results

Overall VCT use among men was 23.3% (95% CI 17.2–29.4). Forty six percent (95% CI 40.8–51.2) had pre-test counselling and 25.9% (95%CI 19.9–31.9) had HIV testing. Of those who tested, 96% returned for post-test counselling and received HIV results. VCT use was higher among men aged 35 years and below (OR = 2.69, 95%CI 1.77–4.07), the non-subsistence farmers (OR = 2.37, 95%CI 2.37), the couple testing (OR = 2.37, 95%CI 1.02–8.83) and men with intention to disclose HIV test results to sexual partners (OR = 1.64, 95%CI 1.04–2.60). The major barriers to VCT use among men were poor utilization of VCT services due to poor access, stigma and confidentiality of services.

Conclusion

VCT use among men in Bukonzo West, Kasese district was low. In order to increase VCT use among men, the VCT programme needs to address HIV stigma and improve access and confidentiality of VCT services. Among the more promising interventions are the use of routine counselling and testing for HIV of patients seeking health care in health units, home based VCT programmes, and mainstreaming of HIV counselling and testing services in community development programmes.