HIV self-testing: a cross-sectional survey conducted among students at a tertiary institution in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2020
Accepted: 8 August 2022
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Background. Despite the growing evidence for reasonable acceptance and the willingness to use HIV self-testing (HIVST), South Africa has not yet fully explored HIVST. Objective. This study’s objective was to determine knowledge, attitudes, and practices for HIVST among students aged 18 to 29 years from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Methods. An online cross-sectional self-administered survey was used to collect data from 01 January 2020 to 31 June 2020. Chi-squared test was used to determine the contribution between categorical variables and HIVST outcomes at a P-value of ≤0.05. Logistic regression was performed to analyze the association between categorical variables with HIVST at a 95% confidence interval.
Results. A total of 227 students were included and more than half were females and 68% were between 20 and 24 years of age. Only 15% reported prior access to HIVST. Almost all students (99%) indicated that they would confirm self-test results if positive. Age group 25-29 (aOR 3.43; 95% CI 1.7-77) was associated with HIVST access compared to ≤19 and 24-29 age groups.
Conclusions. HIVST awareness was generally high among this study population. Of concern is the extremely low number of students who had previously used HIVST, as well as those who were unaware of HIVST’s existence. Our findings highlight a necessity for HIVST advocacy in South Africa that provides information on where and how HIVST kits can be accessed to potentially upscale HIV testing – essential for achieving UNAIDS targets towards the elimination of HIV/AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.
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