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Lack of Knowledge of HIV Status a Major Barrier to HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment Efforts in Kenya: Results from a Nationally Representative Study
  • Published Date:
    May 04 2012
  • Source:
    PLoS One. 2012; 7(5).
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-210.10 KB]


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  • Description:
    Background

    We analyzed HIV testing rates, prevalence of undiagnosed HIV, and predictors of testing in the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey (KAIS) 2007.

    Methods

    KAIS was a nationally representative sero-survey that included demographic and behavioral indicators and testing for HIV, HSV-2, syphilis, and CD4 cell counts in the population aged 15–64 years. We used gender-specific multivariable regression models to identify factors independently associated with HIV testing in sexually active persons.

    Results

    Of 19,840 eligible persons, 80% consented to interviews and blood specimen collection. National HIV prevalence was 7.1% (95% CI 6.5–7.7). Among ever sexually active persons, 27.4% (95% CI 25.6–29.2) of men and 44.2% (95% CI 42.5–46.0) of women reported previous HIV testing. Among HIV-infected persons, 83.6% (95% CI 76.2–91.0) were unaware of their HIV infection. Among sexually active women aged 15–49 years, 48.7% (95% CI 46.8–50.6) had their last HIV test during antenatal care (ANC). In multivariable analyses, the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for ever HIV testing in women ≥35 versus 15–19 years was 0.2 (95% CI: 0.1–0.3; p<0.0001). Other independent associations with ever HIV testing included urban residence (AOR 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2–2.0; p = 0.0005, women only), highest wealth index versus the four lower quintiles combined (AOR 1.8, 95% CI: 1.3–2.5; p = 0.0006, men only), and an increasing testing trend with higher levels of education. Missed opportunities for testing were identified during general or pregnancy-specific contacts with health facilities; 89% of adults said they would participate in home-based HIV testing.

    Conclusions

    The vast majority of HIV-infected persons in Kenya are unaware of their HIV status, posing a major barrier to HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts. New approaches to HIV testing provision and education, including home-based testing, may increase coverage. Targeted interventions should involve sexually active men, sexually active women without access to ANC, and rural and disadvantaged populations.

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