Over one million people are estimated to be living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Uganda. The first Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) control program in Uganda was initiated in 1987. In 2000, as part of the implementation of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Strategy by the Ugandan Ministry of Health, HIV testing was incorporated as a component of antenatal care (ANC). The government initiated the current âoptoutâ policy in 2006 whereby all mothers attending ANC will be tested for HIV unless they specifically decline. In cases of a positive diagnosis, women are treated, counseled, and educated regarding precautionary measures at the time of delivery as well as infant feeding practices. Women are also asked to disclose their status to partners and bring them in for testing.
A large body of literature has explored the acceptability of and barriers to accepting HIV testing during ANC. A study in 2003 found some of the barriers to accepting HIV testing during ANC were lack of HIV-testing facilities, unavailability of HIV counselling, and perceived lack of benefit for HIV infected women and their children. Later, in 2008, Dahl et al. found that most women refused testing because they first wanted to discuss being tested with their partners while a small proportion had confidentiality concerns and feared discrimination from the community or by the health care staff.
Last date updated on January, 2021