Background: Kenya, a country with high HIV prevalence, has seen a rapid scale-up of voluntary counseling and HIV-testing (VCT) services from three sites in 2000 to 585 by June 2005. From 2002 onwards, services were promoted by a four-phase professionally designed mass media campaign.
Objective: To assess the impact of a mass media campaign on VCT services.
Design: Observational data from client records.
Methods: VCT client data from 131 voluntary counseling and testing sites were included. Descriptive statistics and Poisson regression were used to assess the impact of campaign phases.
Results: Client records (381,160) from 131 sites were analyzed. A linear increase in new sites and an exponential increase in client utilization were observed. Regression analysis revealed that the first phase of the campaign increased attendance by 28.5% (95% confidence interval = 15.9, 42.5%) and the fourth by 42.5% (95% confidence interval = 28.4, 64.1%). These two phases, which directly mentioned HIV, had more impact on utilization than the second and third phases, which did not have a significant effect.
Conclusion: The Kenyan experience suggests that a professional, intensive mass media campaign is likely to contribute to increases in utilization of testing. Expansion of programs for counseling and HIV testing in developing countries is likely to be facilitated by mass media promotion of these services.