Quality HIV Counselling services are a major driver for uptake of HIV testing services among tea plantation workers in Tamteco-Toro kahuna tea estate, Uganda: Findings from a discrete choice experiment.

  • Viral hepatitis and HIV
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Background:
HIV Testing and Counseling (HCT) is low in heavily affected communities in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV testing options tailored to the preferences of high-risk populations may provide cost-effective means for increasing rates of testing among high-risk populations. In Kabarole district, Uganda, tea plantation workers have been identified as priority population that should be targeted by HCT services. We assessed the preferences for HCT services among tea plantation workers in Tamteco-Toro Kahuna Tea estate, Kabarole district.
Methods:
A total of 348 tea plantation workers from Tamteco-Toro Kahuna tea estate participated in this study. The tea plantation workers were asked to describe the characteristics of the HCT services they preferred. We then conducted a discrete choice experiment in order to quantify their HCT preferences. The HIV testing options were described by a number of key characteristics including; testing venue, type of sample, type of counseling, who administers the test and when the test is done. The respondents were then presented with a series of choice tasks in which they chose their preferred options. We analyzed the data using STATA version 14.
Results:
We found that the HCT aspect that was valued most by tea plantation workers was counseling (n=191, 51.1%). About 40% of the tea plantation workers mentioned that they preferred to obtain HCT services from government facilities while majority (n=339, 89.5%) stated that they preferred the samples to be collected through finger prick. The Results: from the discrete choice experiment showed that samples taken from the arm (OR=1.22, P-Value=0.017) and any counseling (pre-test counseling OR=1.87, P-Value=0.000; post-test counseling OR=1.42, P-Value=0.000 and both pre-test and post-test counseling OR=1.86, P-value=0.000) increased the odds of a participant selecting a testing option, with the greatest for variables relation to type of counseling
Conclusion
Tea plantation workers preferred HCT options that comprised of any form of counseling. Therefore, in order to increase uptake of HCT services, quality counseling should be provided to tea plantation workers.

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