Trends and predictors of HIV positivity and time since last test at voluntary counselling and testing encounters among adults in Kilifi, Kenya, 2006-2017

Mugo PM, Agutu CA, Wahome E, Juma M, Nzioka J, Mohamed K, Mumba T, Shally M, Fauz I, Omar A, Rinke de Wit TF, van der Elst EM, Graham SM, Sanders EJ
Wellcome Open Res. 2019;4

Permenent descriptor

Background: Little is known about HIV retesting uptake among key populations (KP) and general populations (GP) in Kenya. We assessed trends and predictors of first-time testing (FTT), late retesting (previous test more than one year ago for GP or three months for KP), and test positivity at three voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centres in coastal Kenya. Methods: Routine VCT data covering 2006-2017 was collected from three VCT centres in Kilifi County. We analysed HIV testing history and test results from encounters among adults 18-39 years, categorized as GP men, GP women, men who have sex with men (MSM), and female sex workers (FSW). Results: Based on 24,728 test encounters (32% FTT), we observed declines in HIV positivity (proportion of encounters where the result was positive) among GP men, GP women, first-time testers and MSM but not among FSW. The proportion of encounters for FTT and late retesting decreased for both GP and KP but remained much higher in KP than GP. HIV positivity was higher at FTT and late retesting encounters; at FSW and MSM encounters; and at encounters with clients reporting lower educational attainment and sexually transmitted infection (STI) symptoms. HIV positivity was lower in GP men, never married clients and those less than 35 years of age. FTT was associated with town, risk group, age 18-24 years, never-married status, low educational attainment, and STI symptoms. Late retesting was less common among encounters with GP individuals who were never married, had Muslim or no religious affiliation, had lower educational attainment, or reported STI symptoms. Conclusions: HIV positive test results were most common at encounters with first-time testers and late re-testers. While the proportion of encounters at which late retesting was reported decreased steadily over the period reviewed, efforts are needed to increase retesting among the most at-risk populations.