Social and psychological factors associated with willingness to test for HIV infection among young people in Botswana

AIDS Care. 2006 Apr;18(3):201-7. doi: 10.1080/09540120500456623.


In spite of extensive campaigns to promote voluntary counselling and testing through the radio, television, newspapers and mass rallies, testing for HIV remains a challenge in Botswana. Using a representative sample of 1,294 students from secondary schools and tertiary institutions, the study investigates the effects of socio-demographic background variables, family coherence, interpersonal relations, sexual experience and knowledge about sexual health, on willingness to test for HIV infection. The results show that willingness to test for HIV infection was negatively associated with being sexually active and having a number of partners. Indicators of family, coherence, psychological bonding and personal adjustment such as common residence among parents, emotional support from the family attachment to parents, happiness with life in general and satisfaction with life as a student were associated with willingness to test. The importance of sexual activity, number of partners, happiness with life in general, level of attachment to father and physical fights with other children were identified as the social and psychological predictors of willingness to test for HIV using multiple logistic regression. The study highlights the importance of continued education about voluntary counselling and testing among sexually active young people, especially those from poorer backgrounds in rural areas.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Botswana
  • Child
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Voluntary Programs*