Voluntary versus health professional-initiated HIV testing: a population-based study in women in a city in Southern Brazil

Marilia Arndt Mesenburg Fernando César Wehrmeister Mariângela Freitas da Silveira About the authors

This was a cross-sectional population-based study that aimed to describe the prevalence of HIV testing and associated factors in women in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil. A total of 1,222 women were interviewed. We estimated the overall testing prevalence (yes/no) and prevalence disaggregated by testing ordered by a health professional versus voluntary testing. Test prevalence was 66.1% (95%CI: 63.4-68.8): 52.4% for testing ordered by a health professional (95%CI: 49.6-55.2) and 13.6% for spontaneous testing (95%CI: 11.6-15.5). The principal reason for testing was prenatal screening (52%). Age, age at sexual initiation, and having children were associated statistically with both voluntary and health professional-initiated testing. Sexual risk score, conjugal status, and condom use were only associated statistically with testing ordered by a health professional, while history of anal sex was only associated with spontaneous testing. The results indicate that HIV testing is closely related to prenatal care and that risk perception by the attending health professional appears to be more accurate than the patient’s own perception.

HIV; AIDS Serodiagnosis; Women


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