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Trop Med Int Health. 2012 Aug;17(8):e26-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02937.x.

Patterns of uptake of HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa in the pre-treatment era.

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Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London, UK.



To compare nationally representative trends in self-reported uptake of HIV testing and receipt of results in selected countries prior to treatment scale-up.


Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa were used to describe the pattern of uptake of testing for HIV among sexually active participants. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to analyse the associations between socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics and the uptake of testing.


Knowledge of serostatus ranged from 2.2% among women in Guinea (2005) to 27.4% among women in Rwanda (2005). Despite varied levels of testing, univariate analysis showed the profile of testers to be remarkably similar across countries, with respect to socio-demographic characteristics such as area of residence and socio-economic status. HIV-positive participants were more likely to have tested and received their results than HIV-negative participants, with the exception of women in Senegal and men in Guinea. Adjusted analyses indicate that a secondary or higher level of education was a key determinant of testing, and awareness that treatment exists was independently positively associated with testing, once other characteristics were taken into account.


This work provides a baseline for monitoring trends in testing and exploring changes in the profile of those who get tested after the introduction and scale-up of treatment.

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