Objective: To evaluate the attitude of pregnant women towards HIV testing in two cities of West Africa: Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
Methods: In the context of a clinical trial to prevent HIV vertical transmission, HIV counselling and testing was offered systematically to women attending antenatal clinics. Informed consent was obtained and test results were given anonymously. Multiple logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with refusal for testing and failure to return for test results.
Results: A total of 9724 pregnant women were interviewed from January 1995 to September 1996. In Abidjan (n=5766) and Bobo-Dioulasso (n=3958), 78 and 92.4% of the women consented to HIV testing, respectively, and 58.4 and 81.8% of them returned for the test results disclosure, respectively. In the two sites, the counsellors themselves and high educational level of the women appeared to be related to refusal of the test, whereas last trimester gestation was associated with failure to return for test results. In Abidjan, foreigners and employees were more likely to refuse testing, and HIV-infected women were three times less likely to return for results than uninfected women.
Conclusion: Future implementation of interventions to reduce vertical transmission of HIV that require antenatal HIV testing and counselling will have to solve issue of acceptability of HIV testing by pregnant women.