Background: The high burden of undiagnosed HIV in sub-Saharan Africa is a major obstacle for HIV prevention and treatment. Multi-disease, community health campaigns (CHCs) offering HIV testing are a successful approach to rapidly increase HIV testing rates and identify undiagnosed HIV. However, a greater understanding of population-level uptake is needed to maximize effectiveness of this approach.
Methods: After community sensitization and a census, a five-day campaign was performed in May 2012 in a rural Ugandan community. The census enumerated all residents, capturing demographics, household location, and fingerprint biometrics. The CHC included point-of-care screening for HIV, malaria, TB, hypertension and diabetes. Residents who attended vs. did not attend the CHC were compared to determine predictors of participation.
Results: Over 12 days, 18 census workers enumerated 6,343 residents. 501 additional residents were identified at the campaign, for a total community population of 6,844. 4,323 (63%) residents and 556 non-residents attended the campaign. HIV tests were performed in 4,795/4,879 (98.3%) participants; 1,836 (38%) reported no prior HIV testing. Of 2674 adults tested, 257 (10%) were HIV-infected; 125/257 (49%) reported newly diagnosed HIV. In unadjusted analyses, adult resident campaign non-participation was associated with male sex (62% male vs. 67% female participation, p = 0.003), younger median age (27 years in non-participants vs. 32 in participants; p<0.001), and marital status (48% single vs. 71% married/widowed/divorced participation; p<0.001). In multivariate analysis, single adults were significantly less likely to attend the campaign than non-single adults (relative risk [RR]: 0.63 [95% CI: 0.53-0.74]; p<0.001), and adults at home vs. not home during census activities were significantly more likely to attend the campaign (RR: 1.20 [95% CI: 1.13-1.28]; p<0.001).
Conclusions: CHCs provide a rapid approach to testing a majority of residents for HIV in rural African settings. However, complementary strategies are still needed to engage young, single adults and achieve universal testing.