Outcomes of community-based HIV testing modalities in a Mpumalanga district, South Africa

A Bosman, A Beke


Background. Testing for HIV in individuals informs them of their HIV status, which in turn enables them to receive prevention, treatment and care services. HIV services should ideally be accessed before an individual’s immune system is severely damaged, which could also increase the prevention of new HIV infections. The national HIV testing services (HTS) programmes aim to identify HIV-infected individuals and link them to prevention, care and treatment services. Community-based (CB) HTS reaches community members who do not have access to such services at healthcare facilities. The Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) provided CB-HTS in a Mpumalanga district, South Africa, from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017 (Country Operating Plan (COP16)), where 65 691 clients were tested.

Objectives. To determine which of the FPD CB-HTS modalities used in the Mpumalanga district during COP16 delivered the highest positivity rate, disaggregated by population segmentation. The accompanying objectives were: to describe the demographic characteristics of HTS clients in the district and to compare the different positivity rates of FPD CB-HTS modalities in the district.

Methods. This cross-sectional quantitative study used all the individual, programmatic data collected for all CB-HTS clients in Ehlanzeni during COP16 as secondary data. Descriptive analysis was employed to describe participants’ characteristics. The χ2 test was used for comparing variables.

Results. The mean age of clients was 29.3 (95% confidence interval (CI) 29.7 - 29.9) years. Of the clients analysed, 56.4% were females. Of the clients who were tested for HIV, 14.1% were tested for the first time; 67.7% of those were between 15 and 49 years old. The positivity rate for each modality was calculated, and it was found that home-based HTS had the best positivity rate (9.1%) in the Mpumalanga district during COP16.

Conclusions. This study provides evidence that home-based HTS delivered the best positivity rate in the Mpumalanga district. The results should be used to replicate the programme in other districts. If similar findings are obtained in other studies, it could inform how future CB-HTS programmes should be rolled out, which could change future strategic planning and resource allocation for CB-HTS programmes.

Authors' affiliations

A Bosman, School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria; and Technical Assistance Cluster, Foundation for Professional Development (Pty) Ltd, Pretoria, South Africa

A Beke, School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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HIV/AIDS; HIV testing services; Community-based HIV testing modalities

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(10):1041-1044. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i10.14417

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-09-30
Date published: 2020-09-30

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