HIV Counseling and Testing: Behavior and Practices of Women of Childbearing Age in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

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We assessed factors associated with women's attitudes toward HIV test results in gynecology clinics in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. HIV testing was systematically offered to nonpregnant women attending two gynecology clinics in Abidjan. Individual pretest counseling was performed by trained midwives. Posttest counseling was given 2 weeks later to women who wished to know their HIV test results. HIV testing was offered to a total of 1482 women, of whom 1401 (94.5%) agreed to be screened. The prevalence of HIV infection was 21.3%. Of the women who participated, 10% failed to return. Youth, low educational level, and absence of genital infection were findings individually associated with failure by participants to return for their test results. Among the 1242 women who returned, 13.7% did not wish to know the results of their HIV test. A positive HIV test result, being native to Côte d'Ivoire, a high educational level, and knowing the existence of the asymptomatic stage of HIV infection were factors independently associated with declining to know the HIV test result. In conclusion, women who declined to know their HIV test results presented a specific profile at the time of HIV testing. This information can be used to improve pretest counseling and the efficacy of future HIV screening programs.

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