Trends and determinants of ever having tested for HIV among youth and adults in South Africa from 2005-2017: results from four repeated cross-sectional nationally representative household-based HIV prevalence, incidence, and behaviour surveys

OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Jooste, M.Mabaso, M.Taylor, A.North, R.Tadokera, L.Simbayi
DEPARTMENT: Public Health, Societies and Belonging (HSC), Deputy CEO: Research (DCEO_R), Deputy CEO: Research (ERKC), Deputy CEO: Research (CGI)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11844
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/15896

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HIV testing contributes to the prevention and control of the HIV epidemic in the general population. South Africa has made strides to improve HIV testing towards reaching the first of the UNAIDS 90-90-0 targets by 2020. However, to date no nationally representative analysis has examined temporal trends and factors associated with HIV testing among youth and adults in the country. This study aimed to examine the trends and associations with ever having tested for HIV among youth and adults aged 15 years and older in South Africa using the 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2017 nationally representative population-based household surveys. The analysis of the data collected used multi-stage stratified cluster randomised cross-sectional design. P-trend chi-squared test was used to identify any significant changes over the four study periods. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine factors associated with HIV testing in each of the survey periods. Ever having tested for HIV increased substantially from 2005 (30.6%, n = 16 112), 2008 (50.4%, n = 13 084), 2012 (65.5%, n = 26 381), to 2017 (75.2%, n = 23 190). Those aged 50 years and older were significantly less likely to ever have tested for HIV than those aged 25-49 years. Those residing in rural areas were significantly less likely to have tested for HIV as compared to people from urban areas. There was a change in HIV testing among race groups with Whites, Coloureds and Indian/Asians testing more in 2005 and 2008 and Black Africans in 2017. Marriage, education and employment were significantly associated with increased likelihood of ever testing for HIV. Those who provided a blood specimen for laboratory HIV testing in the survey rounds and were found to have tested positive were more likely to have ever tested for HIV previously. The results show that overall there has been an increase in ever having an HIV test in the South African population over time. The findings also suggest that for South Africa to close the testing gap and reach the first of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020, targeted programmes aimed at increasing access and utilization of HIV testing in young people, males, those not married, the less educated, unemployed and those residing in rural areas of South Africa should be prioritised.