Short Communication

A community-based HIV counselling and testing programme found a decreasing proportion of new HIV testers in South Africa

Published in: African Journal of AIDS Research
Volume 19, issue 1, 2020 , pages: 34–39
DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2019.1676804
Author(s): Simukai ShamuFoundation for Professional Development, South Africa, Thato FariraiFoundation for Professional Development, South Africa, Jean SlabbertFoundation for Professional Development, South Africa, Geoffrey GulobaFoundation for Professional Development, South Africa, Nomea MasihlehoUSAID, South Africa, Julius KameraUSAID, South Africa, Nkhensani NkwashuFoundation for Professional Development, South Africa

Abstract

This article assesses the history of HIV testing among community-based HIV counselling and testing (CBCT) clients between 2014 and 2018 in 13 South African districts. Consenting clients were tested for HIV and interviewed to categorise as first-time testers or repeat testers. Of the 1 800 753 clients tested for HIV, 15.7% (95% CI [15.6–15.7]) were first-time testers. The rate of identifying first-time testers decreased by 10.7% in four years from 18.4% in year one to 7.7% in year four. A substantial proportion (5.5% [5.4–5.6]) of HIV-positive people not yet on antiretroviral treatment sought HIV re-test, of whom nearly half (48.4% [47.1–49.6]) did not disclose their HIV-positive status during pre-counselling and were re-tested. A decreasing proportion of first-time testers may signal positive progress towards universal HIV testing. This downward trend should be sustained to control the HIV epidemic.

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