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Glob Public Health. 2013;8(8):890-903. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2013.827734. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Making sense of HIV testing: social representations in young Africans' HIV-related narratives from six countries.

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  • 1a Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health , Emory University , Atlanta , GA , USA.


HIV testing and counselling are a critical intervention to support treatment access and prevent new infections. Despite high rates of infection, few young Africans know their HIV status. With the aim of informing initiatives that encourage HIV testing and access to testing benefits, this study seeks to understand how young Africans make sense of HIV testing. We conducted thematic narrative-based analysis of a stratified random sample (n = 586, ≈ 5%) from 11,354 narratives written in 2005 by males and females aged 10-24 from six sub-Saharan African countries for the 'Scenarios from Africa' scriptwriting contest which invites young people to contribute ideas for short films about HIV. The factors represented by the young authors as influencing testing behaviour and outcomes are complex and interactive, indicating that interventions that are not contextually appropriate are unlikely to affect a shift towards increased testing or improved post-testing outcomes. The narratives point to opportunities to increase HIV testing in this demographic.

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