HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) programs increase safe sexual behavior and use of care and support services among adults. By helping clients learn their HIV serostatus and creating a personalized HIV risk-reduction plan, VCT can provide the information and support necessary to change risky behaviors that could lead to HIV infection or transmission. Counseling and a risk-reduction plan are the key features distinguishing VCT from other HIV testing services. VCT has become a widely advocated HIV/AIDS prevention strategy among adults. Sixty percent of all new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa, however, occur among young people ages 10–24. Because few young people use any health services, using VCT as a strategy to reduce risk behaviors among young people appears to be more challenging than it would be among adults. Findings from exploratory research in Uganda and Kenya provide some answers. Specifically, researchers sought to understand young people’s experiences with HIV testing and the factors that inhibit or motivate youth to use testing services. As noted in this report, researchers and service-providing organizations used these findings to develop strategies to reach youth with VCT services.
Horizons Program, Kenya Project Partners, and Uganda Project Partners. 2001. "HIV voluntary counseling and testing among youth ages 14 to 21: Results from an exploratory study in Nairobi, Kenya, and Kampala and Masaka, Uganda," Horizons Baseline Report. Washington, DC: Population Council.