Determinants of testing for HIV among young people in Uganda. A nested, explanatory-sequential study

Dennis Kalibbala, Steven Kiwuwa Mpungu, Bashir Ssuna, Wani Muzeyi, Happiness Mberesero, Fred C. Semitala, Anne Katahoire, Mari Armstrong-Hough, Joan N. Kalyango, Victor Musiime

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Awareness of HIV serostatus helps individuals calibrate behaviour or link to care. Globally, young people (15-24years) contribute over 30% of new HIV infections. Despite progress in enhancing access to HIV services, HIV testing among young people in Uganda is below target. We determined the prevalence and factors influencing HIV testing among young people in a peri-urban district with the highest proportion of young people. We conducted a nested explanatory sequential mixed-methods study from March to May 2019 in Wakiso district. We used stratified cluster random sampling to select 397 rural and 253 urban young people from eight parishes. We collected data using questionnaires and subsequently conducted in-depth interviews with 16 purposively selected survey participants. The prevalence of testing for HIV was 80.2%. Young people related their decisions about HIV testing to self-evaluation of their risk and perceived ability to manage the consequences of a positive result. Participants reported high levels of support for HIV testing from peers, partners, and family members. They perceived health facilities as confusing, distant, expensive, and staffed by judgmental, older health workers as barriers. They felt that mobile testing points solved some of these problems, but introduced less privacy and greater confidentiality concerns. The prevalence of HIV testing among young people in Wakiso district was low compared to the UNAIDS 2030 target but among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Community-based programs resolve many concerns about testing at health facilities. However, there is a need to make these programs more comfortable and private.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0000870
JournalPLOS global public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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