Health workers’ attitude and perception toward routine pre-marital HIV screening

OI Musa



More than half of all new HIV infections occur among young adults, however, the rate of new infections among women surpasses men’s especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. This rising infection rates, particularly among women, exposes children to increased HIV risk even before they are born. This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the attitude and perception of health workers to routine pre-marital HIV screening that is currently practice by some religious institutions as part of initiative directed towards controlling the spread of the infection. Three hundred (300) self-administered questionnaires distributed to the health workers in their respective units were analyzed. Majority of the respondents 270 (90%) agreed that pre-marital HIV screening is necessary and advantageous to couples intending to get married. Although more than half of the respondents (56.7%) believed that the screening exercise is associated with some disadvantages, as many as 205 (68.3%) were in support of its enforcement for all couple. Majority 260 (86.7%) agreed that religious leaders/institutions have important role to play in HIV control and most of them 265 (88.3%) would prefer that Government health facilities be used as screening centres; and medical doctors should be the person to reveal the test results to the couples 275 (91.7%). About two-third of the respondents felt that the couples should initiates request for HIV screening, and on the issue of whether or not the marriage should be contracted following a positive result in one or both partners, 180(60%) respondents felt that the decision should be made by the couple. Counseling of couples before and after HIV screening, adequate training of health workers on HIV counseling skill and making HIV screening free to couple were suggested by the respondents as incentive that would enhance voluntary pre-marital HIV testing.

Afr. J. Clin. Exper. Microbiol. Vol.6(1) 2005: 46-52