Original Research

Trends and correlates of HIV testing amongst women: lessons learnt from Kenya

Thomas N.O. Achia, Eunice Obayo
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a547 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.547 | © 2013 Thomas N.O. Achia, Eunice Obayo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2013 | Published: 27 September 2013

About the author(s)

Thomas N.O. Achia, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Eunice Obayo, School of Mathematics, University of Nairobi, Kenya


Background: A majority of women in Kenya do not know their HIV status and are therefore unable to take preventive measures or medication in order to prolong their lives.

Objectives: This study investigates the key determinants of HIV testing in Kenya and documents how these changed over the 1998–2008 period.

Method: This study uses data from the 1998, 2003 and 2008 Kenya Demographic and Health surveys. Principal components analysis was used to compute indices of HIV knowledge, HIV-related stigma, media exposure and decision making. Survey logistic regression analysis was used to determine factors that had a statistically-significant association with ever having been tested for HIV.

Results: Testing was significantly higher in 2008 compared with the previous surveys. In 1998, 14.7% of the women had tested for HIV. The rate increased to 15.0% in 2003 and then to 59.2% in 2008. In the 1998 and 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health surveys, respondents’ age, region of residence, education, knowledge of someone who had died from HIV-related illness and media exposure were the main determinants of testing. In the 2008 study, HIV-related stigma, occupation and the partner’s level of education were found to be associated with HIV testing.

Conclusion: Despite efforts to scale up voluntary counselling and testing in Kenya over the 1998–2008 period, HIV testing amongst women is still quite low. Prevention and control programmes in Kenya need to focus on reducing HIV-related stigma, increasing access to testing in rural areas and increasing access amongst women with little or no education.


HIV-1 Voluntary testing and counseling, media exposure, Stigma, Knowledge, women, Kenya


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Crossref Citations

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