The knowledge, attitude and perception of HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) among young adults in Kempton Park community, north of Ekurhuleni Municipality, Gauteng Province: improving the uptake of VCT
Thesis (MFamMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2010.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Introduction: In recent times, HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VTC) have come to be widely regarded as an important method of HIV prevention and support service. Therefore, it is not surprising that VTC has become the current area of focus for the control and prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS in this part of Southern Africa. The uptake of HIV VCT in South Africa, as well as globally, is very low mainly because of society’s low knowledge of the HIV/AIDS disease, negative societal attitudes towards those infected with HIV and significant social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS infection. Aim: The aim of this study is to access the knowledge, attitude and perceptions towards HIV infection and VCT among young adults in Kempton Park community with a view of finding appropriate solutions to the identified problems. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to identify the socio-demographic profile of the study population, access their influence on the knowledge and attitude towards HIV infection and VCT and to access the extent of HIV VCT uptake and the effect of VCT on change in risk behaviour, knowledge about HIV infection/AIDS and related stigma. Materials and Methods: A quantitative study design by way of a descriptive cross-sectional survey was carried out in Kempton Park community which has an estimated population of about between 400,000 – 800,000 inhabitants. The study was conducted in three local clinics within the community which offered free primary health care services to all the community members. The study population was made up of young adults between the age brackets of 18-45 years who could be regarded as the most sexually active population group. A structured questionnaire was used as a data collecting tool from 4th January to 12th February, 2010. The questionnaire was administered to a total number of 321 participants comprising 217 (67.6%) females and 98 (30.5%) males. The participants were randomly selected without gender or racial discrimination. Results: The findings showed that there was a high level of uptake of VCT in the community sampled with a test history of 63.9% (i.e. those who have previously taken HIV VCT) as well as a high level of HIV/AIDS knowledge, supportive community attitudes towards HIV infected persons and less HIV related stigma among the respondents. The results also showed a direct correlation between these good outcomes and previous exposure or participation in VCT. There was no significant variable shown to determine the uptake of VCT services. The risk of HIV transmission was found to be higher with males. They were more likely to have more sexual partners and to have previously contracted sexually transmitted infections than females. Discussion and Conclusion: There is an obvious step in the right direction to improve society’s attitude towards the uptake of HIV VCT as can be inferred from the results of the study. However, more work needs to be done by Government and NGOs with co-operation from community and youth leaders at the grass root level to ensure that the correct information and education on HIV/AIDS gets to every individual in every community in the country. Adoption of a more positive attitude towards HIV infected people and reduction in the associated stigma will encourage more young adults to know their HIV status by taking VCT. This will help to control the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS disease in the long run.
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