The acceptability and perceived use of HIV self-testing among technical vocational education and training students in Limpopo province

Background: Human immunodeficiency virus self-testing (HIVST) is a most recent testing modality to reach young people to test for HIV, due to their increased vulnerability of contracting HIV. Limited literature is available describing sexual behaviours and the acceptability of HIVST and its perceived use among students. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the acceptability and perceived use of HIV selftesting among students in Limpopo province, South Africa. Setting: The study was conducted in Limpopo province, at a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) college. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 396 students recruited from a TVET college. Results: The mean age of the students was 22.9 years, with the majority of the students being female (77.2%). The majority (81.4%) of the students sampled reported regular sexual activity. Sixty per cent of the students had used condoms during their last sexual encounter. The acceptability of HIVST was high, with more women showing the willingness to take up HIVST (82.5%). Being sexually active (odds ratio [OR] 1.23; (confidence interval [CI]: 2.14 -6.94; p = 0.000), a number of sexual partners (OR 1.045; CI: 1.98 -10.02; p = 0.000) and condom use during the last sexual encounter (OR 0.62; CI: 3.81 -9.59; p = 0.000) were factors associated with HIVST. Conclusion: The high acceptability of HIV shows a need for innovative demand creation in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programming.

Dr Sam Mndzebele