Author(s): Nyuzaghl J, Ohene S, OdoiAgyarko K, Nyuzaghl J, Ohene S, OdoiAgyarko K
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Abstract BACKGROUND: With the introduction of the opt out HIV testing policy in Ghana, the HIV test is offered routinely to all pregnant women unless they decline testing. OBJECTIVE: To assess acceptability of the routine offer of HIV testing antenatal clinic (ANC) clients in the Wa municipality, Ghana. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of 270 randomly selected ANC attendees. RESULTS: More than 90\% of respondents were in favour of the opt-out policy. The most commonly cited reasons were that it would help pregnant women know their status and facilitate prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). About 60\% of respondents had tested for HIV in the current pregnancy with more than 90\% reporting that the test was offered them in a manner in which they could have refused the test. HIV testing in the current pregnancy was associated with having heard of the opt-out policy (p <0.001) and awareness that the test was offered at the facility (p < 0.001), but there was no relationship with educational level. Out of the 112 clients who had not had HIV test in the current pregnancy, 61.8\% claimed the test had not been offered to them while 82.4\% expressed willingness to have the test done if offered. CONCLUSION: The opt-out HIV testing policy is acceptable to the pregnant women surveyed in the Wa municipality. A well laid out process to ensure that all pregnant women are routinely offered HIV testing at the ANC may help minimize missed opportunities for utilizing PMTCT services.
This article was published in Ghana Med J
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research