Expanding access to voluntary HIV counselling and testing in sub-Saharan Africa: alternative approaches for improving uptake, 2001-2007

Trop Med Int Health. 2007 Nov;12(11):1315-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2007.01923.x. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


The changing face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has resulted in new opportunities to increase access to voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT), especially during the past 7 years (2001-2007). As access to HIV treatment becomes more widely available in sub-Saharan Africa, the need for enhanced access to VCT would become even greater. When given the opportunity, many more adults in sub-Saharan African would accept VCT, and many clearly express the desire to learn their HIV sero-status. However, in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than one in 10 people know their HIV status. Stigma, fear of receiving an HIV-positive status, lack of confidentiality, long distances to VCT sites, and long delays in returning HIV test results limit people's access to traditional VCT systems. Alternative VCT delivery models, such as mobile VCT, routine offer of VCT and home-based VCT increase access to and uptake of VCT. We recommend that these alternative models be implemented in more settings and on a much larger scale in sub-Saharan Africa, where VCT uptake rates remain low.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Counseling
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*