MPhil study projects

Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of students attending Elite Tutorial College towards HIV self-testing

Student: Malizgani Mhango

Country: Zimbabwe

Namibia’s Health Ministry recommended HIV self-testing (HIVST) in 2019 to enhance the uptake of HIV testing services (HTS) among hard-to-reach groups such as young adolescents. The levels of HIVST knowledge, awareness, attitude and acceptability among this population were however undocumented. This research aimed to assess the knowledge, awareness and attitudes towards HIVST among young adolescents attending Elite Tutorial College in Ondangwa, Namibia.

A cross-sectional study was conducted over six weeks, sampling 97 young adolescents. Data was collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Of the 97 participants, only 23,7% were aware of HIVST. Logistic regression revealed associations between HIVST awareness and factors such as condom use during first sexual encounters, monogamy and absence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Univariate analysis indicated associations between HIVST acceptability and being female, residing in urban areas and absence of STIs in the past 12 months.

The study disclosed low awareness but high acceptability of HIVST among young adolescents, underscoring the need for increased awareness and health education to bolster HTS uptake in this traditionally hard-to-reach demographic in Namibia.