Socio-demographic factors associated with uptake of HIV counseling and testing (HCT) among Nigerian youth

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: HCT is an important gateway for HIV prevention interventions as it educates sero-negative individuals on HIV preventive behaviours and enables seropositive individuals to gain access to treatment, care and support services. We evaluated the socio-demographic factors associated with HCT-uptake among Nigerian youth aged 15–24. Methods: Secondary data analysis was conducted on Nigeria's 2012 National HIV/AIDS & Reproductive Health Survey data. Multivariable log-binomial regression analysis was used to estimate adjusted prevalence ratio (APR) with 95% Confidence intervals. Results: Of the 10,091 youth, half were aged 15–19, 66.9% were single, 65.7% were rural dwellers, 20.7% had no education, 46% were students & 31.1% were employed. About 10.5% ever had HCT & 3.5% tested positive in the survey. Multivariable analysis revealed that the aged 20–24 [APR=1.67(1.41-1.96)] were more likely to have had HCT than the aged 15–19. HCT-uptake increased with educational level [primary-APR=2.29(1.59-3.32); secondary—APR=3.48(2.54-4.77) & higher-APR=6.68(4.66-9.58)]. The non-Catholic [APR=1.60(1.36-1.89)] and the Catholics [APR=1.85(1.51-2.26)] Christians were more likely to have had HCT than the Muslims. Those having comprehensive knowledge of HIV [APR=2.09(1.83-2.39)] were twice more likely to have had HCT. Students [APR=0.80(0.67-0.94)] were less likely to have had HCT than the employed. Those from poor-households [APR=0.63(0.51-0.77)] were less likely to have had HCT than those from average-households. Conclusions: HCT-uptake among young Nigerians is very low despite the increased availability of free HCT services in the country. The fact that being employed and having higher educational level and household wealth are associated with HCT-uptake suggests that socio-economic barriers to HCT-uptake persist among young people. The association with age may be due to age of consent barriers faced by adolescents. More youth-friendly interventions aimed at increasing HCT-uptake among young Nigerians are urgently needed.