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ISRN AIDS  2012 

Who Is Going for VCT? A Case Study in Urban Burkina Faso

DOI: 10.5402/2012/307917

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Introduction. Voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT) is a key element of treatment and is essential for prevention of vertical HIV transmission. Little information is available on the uptake of VCT in Burkina Faso. This study aims to assess the prevalence of VCT in urban Burkina Faso, where the epidemic is still highly concentrated. Methods. We conducted a two-stage clustered population-based survey among 1,694 subjects living in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. After informed consent was obtained, a behavioural questionnaire was administered to participants. Results. Overall, 10.2% of individuals had used VCT, while 9% were women. Among women who had a child after the launch of the programme to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), only 10.4% have been tested for HIV. Almost all participants (99.3%) were aware of HIV/AIDS, and 65% knew the main methods of prevention. In multivariate analysis, older age and being married and better educated were independent factors associated with VCT. Conclusions. Despite high public knowledge and awareness about HIV, VCT uptake was still very low and PMTCT coverage was poor. New strategies are required to increase VCT uptake in urban areas, in particular among the youngest age. 1. Introduction Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) plays a pivotal role within a comprehensive range of measures for HIV/AIDS prevention and support and should be strongly encouraged. VCT has become an integral part of HIV control programs in many countries. Services have evolved to reflect developments in the treatment and care for HIV-related illnesses, important in reducing HIV transmission [1]. The campaigns against HIV/AIDS have largely focused on community implications and healthy living. The uptake, attitudes, and perceptions of the public regarding HIV testing may provide important information for the planning of preventive and interventional programmes. Positive attitudes toward VCT have been demonstrated in women attending antenatal clinic (ANC) due to their concern for the health of the expected baby, self-perceived HIV risk, and knowledge of medical intervention to reduce disease symptoms or prevent vertical transmission [2]. It is not clear if these findings can be extrapolated to other population groups. Approximately 120,000 individuals are infected with HIV in Burkina Faso, with 60% of these living in urban areas and only a small proportion of them aware of their HIV status [3]. Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programmes have been launched in urban areas of Burkina in 2001. Little information is

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