Predictors of HIV testing among youth in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-sectional study

Academic Article


  • © 2016 Asaolu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Introduction: In spite of a high prevalence of HIV infection among adolescents and young adults in sub- Saharan Africa, uptake of HIV testing and counseling among youth in the region remains sub-optimal. The objective of this study was to assess factors that influence uptake of HIV testing and counseling among youth aged 15-24 years in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: This study used the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from countries that represent four geographic regions of sub-Saharan Africa: Congo (Brazzaville), representing central Africa (DHS 2011-2012); Mozambique, representing southern Africa (DHS 2011); Nigeria, representing western Africa (DHS 2013); and Uganda, representing eastern Africa (DHS 2011). Analyses were restricted to 23,367 male and female respondents aged 15-24 years with complete data on the variables of interest. Chi-square tests and logistic regression models were used to assess predictors of HIV testing. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.01. Results: The analysis revealed that a majority of the respondents were female (78.1%) and aged 20-24-years (60.7%). Only a limited proportion of respondents (36.5%) had ever tested for HIV and even fewer (25.7%) demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS. There was a significant association between HIV testing and respondents' gender, age, age at sexual debut, and comprehensive knowledge of HIV in the pooled sample. Older youth (adjusted OR (aOR) = 2.19; 99% CI = 1.99-2.40) and those with comprehensive knowledge of HIV (aOR = 1.98; 1.76-2.22) had significantly higher odds of ever being tested for HIV than younger respondents and those with limited HIV/AIDS knowledge respectively. Furthermore, men had lower odds of HIV testing than women (aOR = 0.32; 0.28-0.37). Conclusions: Reaching youth in sub-Saharan Africa for HIV testing continues to be a challenge. Public health programs that seek to increase HIV counseling and testing among youth should pay particular attention to efforts that target high-risk subpopulations of youth. The results further suggest that these initiatives would be strengthened by including strategies to increase HIV comprehensive knowledge.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Asaolu IO; Gunn JK; Center KE; Koss MP; Iwelunmor JI; Ehiri JE
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 10