Preference and uptake of different community-based HIV testing service delivery models among female sex workers along Malaba-Kampala highway, Uganda, 2017

BMC Health Serv Res. 2019 Nov 5;19(1):799. doi: 10.1186/s12913-019-4610-3.


Introduction: Female Sex workers (FSW) and their clients accounted for 18% of the new HIV infections in 2015/2016. Special community-based HIV testing service delivery models (static facilities, outreaches, and peer to peer mechanism) were designed in 2012 under the Most At Risk Populations Frame work and implemented to increase access and utilization of HIV care services for key populations like female sex workers. However, to date there is no study that has been done to access the preference and uptake of different community-based HIV testing service delivery models used to reach FSW. We assessed preference and uptake of the current community-based HIV testing services delivery models that are used to reach FSW and identified challenges faced during the implementation of the models.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study design using quantitative (interview with the health workers in facilities providing services to female sex workers and interviews with FSWs) and qualitative (interviews with Ministry of Health staff, health workers, district health team members, program staff at different levels involved in delivery of HIV care services, FSWs and political leaders to assess for the enabling environment created to deliver the different community-based HIV testing services to FSWs along the Malaba-Kampala highway. Malaba - Kampala high way is one of the major high ways with many different hot spots where the actual buying and selling of sex takes place. We defined FSWs as any female, who undertakes sexual activity after consenting with a man for money or other items/benefits as an occupation or as a primary source of livelihood irrespective of site of operation within the past six months. We assessed the preference and uptake of different community based HIV testing services delivery model among FSWs based on two indicators, i.e., the proportion of FSWs who had an HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) in the last 12 months and the proportion of FSWs who were positive and linked to care.

Results: Overall, 86% (390/456) of the FSWs had taken an HIV test in the last 12 months. Of the 390 FSWs, 72% (279/390) had used static facilities, 25% (98/390) had used outreaches, and 3.3% (13/390) used peer to peer mechanisms to have an HIV test. Overall, 35% (159/390) of the FSWs who had taken an HIV test were HIV positive. Of the 159, 83% (132/159) were successfully linked into care. Ninety one percent (120/132) reported to have been linked into care by static facilities. Challenges experienced included; lack of trust in the results given during outreaches, failure to offer other testing services including hepatitis B and syphilis during outreaches, inconsistent supply of testing kits, condoms, STI drugs, and unfriendly health services due to the infrastructure and non-trained health workers delivering KP HIV testing services.

Conclusions: Most of the FSWs had HCT services and were linked to care through static facilities. Community-based HIV testing service delivery models are challenged with inconsistent supply of HIV testing commodities and unfriendly services.. We recommended strengthening of all HIV testing community-based HIV testing service deliverymodels by ensuring constant supply of HIV testing/AIDS care commoditiesoffering FSW friendly services, and provision of comprehensive HIV/AIDS health care package.

Keywords: HIV testing; Key populations; Linkage to care; Sex workers; Uganda.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Preference / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Workers / psychology*
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data
  • Uganda
  • Young Adult