Factors Affecting Utilization of Voluntary Counselling and Testing Services:Comparison Between Public Boys"and Girls'Secondary Schools in Nairobi County.
Rono, Emily Chemngetich
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mv and AIDS is one of the biggest threats to global health and stability. UNAIDS estimatedthat there were 33.3 millionpeople livingwithHIVat the end of 2009. In 2009, there were an estimated 2.6 millionpeople who became newly infected with HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa,where the majority of new HIVinfections continue to occur, an estimated 1.8 million people became infected in the same year; Individuals in their most productive years C15- 49 years old) are most commonly infected with HIV and AIDS, the disease has a wide socioeconomic impact that threatens development progress in many poor countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. mv prevalence in girls aged 15 to 19 years old is six times higher than in boys of the same age group. VCT services act as entry point for behaviour formation, behaviour change and care and support in mv prevention. The broad objective of this study was to determine knowledge, access and factors affecting utilization of\'V¢T services among secondary school students in public schools in Nairobi County. Data was collected using pretested questionnaires. Reliability of the data collection instrument was established using the internal consistency technique. Data was analyzed using SPSS software and presented in bar graphs, pie charts, percentages and measures of central tendency. 2x2 contingency tables, correlation analysis and chi-square statistics were used to test the hypotheses. The respondents were aged between 13 - 20 years. The mean age was 16.2 years. Of the 385 respondents, 213 were females representing 55.3%. Having heard of VeT was closely associated to knowing the function of VCT (:i (df=J=)9.214, p:SO0. 02). Students in boarding schools were more likely to know the meaning of mv (:i (df=3=)55.614, p:S0.023) and generally more knowledgeable. Only 18.2% had ever been to a veT. Students in day schools who knew how HIV is spread were more likely to have gone to VeT to know their status Cx:(df==3)16.340, P :So0.003). There is a significant difference in sexual activeness of students with school type Cx:(df==3)84.11, p<O.000 1). Students in day school tend to have a higher number of sexual partners than those in boarding schools ex: (df---6)=125.086p,<O.OOOI).Those who did not think they could get mv were more likely to have more than one sexual partners ex: (df==2)19.719, p:s. 0.0001). 55.1% of the respondents discussed about going to VCT. Of those who discussed, 49.8% discussed with their friends, 31.4% discussed with their girlfriends or boyfriends. Students in boarding schools were less likely to encourage others to VCT use compared to those in day schools. Respondents who have been to VCT to know their status were more likely to have encouraged or discussed with others about going to VCT to know their status Cx: (df=J)=36.938, p:SO.OOOOl).The factors that affected veT service utilization included fear, risk perception, distance to the nearest VCT centre, sexual activity, knowledge of infected person, school type, knowledge on VCT and HfV, and availability of youth-friendly VCT centres. There exists a knowledge gap among the youth on the importance of VCT in control of mv. Interventions are needed to promote utilization of VCT services by the secondary school students. These interventions could use the peers and PLWA to encourage the youth to be tested. Youth friendly VCT centres should be set up or increased in numbers so as to encourage the youth to seek the services. The findings of this study will be used by government policy makers, NACC, NASCOP, NGOs, education sector and other organizations involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS especially among the youth.