‘There’s no place like home’: perceptions of home-based HIV testing in Lesotho

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Abstract

HIV testing has the potential to reduce HIV transmission by identifying and counseling individuals with HIV, reducing risk behaviors, linking persons with HIV to care and earlier treatment, and reducing perinatal transmission. In Lesotho, a high HIV prevalence country in which a large proportion of the population has never tested for HIV, home-based testing (HBT) may be an important strategy to increase HIV testing. We identified factors influencing acceptability of HIV prevention strategies among a convenience sample of 200 pregnant or post-partum Basotho women and 30 Basotho men. We first conducted cross-sectional surveys, followed by key informant interviews with all 30 men and focus group discussions with a sub-set of 62 women. In total, 82% of women reported positive perceptions of HBT; women and men viewed HBT as a potential way to increase testing among men and saw the home as a comfortable, supportive environment for testing and counseling couples and families together. Potential barriers to HBT uptake included concerns about confidentiality, privacy, coercion to test, conflict within the family and fear of HIV/AIDS-associated stigma. Participants emphasized community mobilization and education as important elements of HBT.

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