One Size Does Not Fit All: HIV Testing Preferences Differ Among High-Risk Groups in Northern Tanzania

April 2015 - Combination Prevention

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Ostermann, J., Njau, B., Mtuy, T., et al. AIDS Care (January 2015), doi: 10.1080/09540121.2014.998612, pp. 595-603.

This study assessed the HIV testing preferences of female bar workers and male Kilimanjaro porters, two important high-risk groups in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. The authors used direct assessment and discrete choice experiment (DCE) methods to identify the HIV testing preferences of 162 bar workers and 194 porters, and compared them to 486 randomly selected community members. They found that bar workers, who are required to participate in a municipality-mandated health screening program, had significantly higher rates of HIV testing within the past year compared to female community members (59.3 percent versus 37.9 percent), while testing rates among porters versus males in the community were similar (25.1 percent versus 20.6 percent). Bar workers were less likely than other female community members to report a preference for home testing over facility-based testing (23 percent versus 68.6 percent). Both methods showed that porters preferred testing in venues where antiretroviral therapy was readily available (42.4 percent versus 59.4 percent in the general male population). Additionally, bar workers and porters were more likely to travel longer distances for testing compared to their community counterparts. The authors highlighted the differences in testing preferences between high-risk populations and others in the community, and called for better alignment of HIV testing services with the preferences of key populations.

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