OBJECTIVES:To assess self-selection in a population-based voluntary HIV testing and counseling (VTC) program by comparing the HIV risk characteristics of users and nonusers of VTC in rural Uganda.
DESIGN:A 1994 to 1995 community-randomized trial in the Rakai District of Uganda enrolled adults aged 15 to 59 years and ascertained their HIV status, sociodemographic characteristics, risk behaviors, and AIDS-associated symptoms. All subjects were offered confidential individual VTC at no cost.
METHODS:We compared users and nonusers of VTC among 10,950 participants (4764 male and 6186 female) enrolled at baseline using multivariate logistic regression.
RESULTS:Women were significantly less likely to receive VTC than men (31.5% vs. 34.8%, p <.001). In multivariate analysis, younger age, HIV-positive status, and having no sexual partners in the past 5 years (and, significant for women only, having 2 or more sexual partners) were associated with lower VTC participation for both men and women. Among women, higher VTC participation was associated with symptoms suggestive of AIDS and other illnesses and shopkeeper occupations.
CONCLUSIONS:During the initial phase of a population-based free VTC program in rural Uganda, certain high-risk groups were underrepresented among VTC recipients. There is a need to target VTC to ensure participation by high-risk individuals most in need of services.