HIV self-testing, self-stigma and HAART treatment at the University of Limpopo: health sciences students' opinions and perspectives
Nkuna et al.
Type of approach
Type of assistance
Fingerstick/whole blood, Oral-fluid
Young people: Young people (18-24 years)
UNAIDS HIV prevalence (2017)
19.2 [18.4 - 20.0]
Data was collected in 2015 among health sciences students at University of Limpopo. Using the social media app, Whatsapp, students were asked to provide a 'yes' or 'no' response to two questions about their knowledge of their HIV status and their willingness to use an HIV self-test or pregnancy test. Four focus groups were conducted with equal numbers of male and female students at different levels of study. The focus groups included discussion on level of interest in HIV self-testing, appropriate distribution channels for HIV self-tests and how to achieve linkage to treatment and care. Seven one-on-one interviews were also conducted with staff members at the student health centre.
Summary of findings
Results of the study show that willingness to use an HIV self-test differed from willingness to use HIV care and treatment services (HCT). Willingness to use HCT was generally lower than willingness to self-test. Females were generally more willing to go for HCT than males. About 51% of students indicated their willingness to use HIV self-tests. Staff at the student health centre reported their concern that HIV self-testing might lead to the student being traumatized by their test result, though students did not mention this concern. Staff also stated that HIV self-testing would increase demand for antiretrovirals which could not be met by the centre.
About 51% of students, the majority being females, indicated that they would use an HIV self-test.
Willingness to pay
Willingness to pay details
Staff at the student health centre reported the concern that students using HIV self-tests would be traumatized by the test result, but students did not voice this same concern.
Linkage to prevention, care and treatment
Staff at the student health centre reported the concern that HIV self-testing would increase the demand for antiretrovirals (ARVs). Staff reported that the centre would not be able to meet this increased demand because the centre was getting its stock from the nearby district hospital.