Why adolescents in Uganda shy away from Voluntary HIV Counselling and Testing (VCT) services: A case study of Soroti District

Emmanuel Ikara, Makerere University
James Ntozi, Makerere University

Voluntary HIV counseling and testing is an opportunity for individuals to learn their HIV status, be given correct knowledge, and to gain accurate risk perception, thereby encouraging safer behaviour. The aim of the paper is to investigate factors that influence VCT uptake among adolescents aged 15-24 years in Soroti district, Uganda. A sample of 288 adolescents from secondary schools and tertiary institutions and several key informants were interviewed. It was found that VCT uptake was low (27.7%). Sex, education, religion, residence, perceived risk, VCT knowledge, and willingness to test were significant factors influencing use of VCT. While a high proportion of students were aware of VCT, the knowledge did not proportionally translate into VCT uptake. This calls for sound youth-friendly and viable IEC and counseling strategies and the need to emphasize the benefits of VCT so as to help the students internalize the HIV risks.

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Presented in Poster Session 4