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Prevalence and determinants of recent HIV testing among older persons in rural Uganda

Handling of samples behind a protective glass screen in one of the state-of-the-art Labs at the College of Health Sciences, Mulago Campus, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Date taken: 13th August 2010.

There is limited research on HIV testing among older persons in Uganda. The aim of this study (by Makerere University Researchers; Dr. Stephen Ojiambo Wandera, Dr. Betty Kwagala and Dr. Fred Maniragaba) was to investigate the socio-demographic determinants of recent HIV testing among older persons in selected rural districts in Uganda.

A cross-sectional survey of 649 older men and women age 50 years and older, from central (Masaka district) and western (Hoima district) Uganda was conducted. Frequency distributions, chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regressions were used to examine the association between recent HIV testing and selected explanatory variables.

Half of the older people (51%) had sex in the last twelve months. A quarter (25%) of older persons gave or received gifts in exchange for sex in their lifetime. Nearly a third (29%) reported sexually transmitted infections in the last 12 months.

Prevalence of lifetime HIV testing was 82% and recent (last 12 months) HIV testing was 53%. HIV testing in the last 12 months was associated with younger age (OR = 0.50; 95% CI: 0.31–0.79), self-reported sexually transmitted infections (OR = 1.59; 95% CI: 1.00–2.30), male circumcision (OR = 1.71; 95% CI: 1.0–2.93), and sexual activity in the last 12 months (OR = 2.89; 95% CI: 1.83–4.57).

HIV testing interventions need to target older persons who are 70 years and older, who were less likely to test.

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