Factors influencing the utilization of voluntary counseling and testing services for HIV/AIDS among the youth in Nairobi province, Kenya
Current global estimates suggest that 7000 young people are infected with HIV daily, translating to 2.6 million new infections each year with two million of the cases being in Africa alone. Furthermore .of the 30 million people living with HIV/AIDS, 20 million of the m are young people aged 10-24 years. This means that the youth in the above age bracket comprised the most vulnerable group who must be targeted in control programmes designed to reduce the spread of the HIV/AIDS. Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) has become an integral part of programmes in many countries in the control and management of HIV/AIDS. The major objective of this study was to determine the factors influencing the utilization of VCT services in the control of HIV/AIDS, among the youth in Nairobi province. The data was collected using questionnaires and interviews administered to the youth who were randomly and purposively sampled in the study area. Focus group discussions (FGDs) in which the youth were placed in groups of 8-12 and their views on the factors influencing their utilizing of VCT services were carried out and views recorded. All data from the study was coded and entered in a computer using the statistical package for social scientists (SPSS_). Chi-square was used to test for the relationship between the variables determining the utilization of VCT A total number of five hundred and sixty three (563) questionnaires were administered to 232 female and 331 male respondents. Eight (8) FGDs were also held with the health providers from the selected voluntary counselling and testing centres. Approximately 71% of the respondents had attained at least secondary school education. The result indicated that there was a significant relationship between the knowledge of individuals and whether or not they had sought VCT since 69% of those who sought VCT had acquired a minimum of secondary school education. The result also showed that 64% of the youth abused drugs and that there was a positive correlation between drug abuse and having several sexual partners in the last 12 months. The results indicated a lot of awareness on VCT since 87% of the respondents knew of VCT but this did not influence its utilization. About 63% of the youth had not used VCT services because there was no need for it since treatment was lacking and they feared stigmatization. The knowledge, attitudes and perception on HIV/AIDS and VCT influenced whether or not the youth utilized the services. The findings of this study have policy implications and require attention especially by designing the programme on prevention, control and management of HIV/AIDS among the youth who form a great proportion of the world's population and are also the most vulnerable group.
- MST-Zoological Sciences