Impacts of an HIV Counselling and Testing Initiative: Results from an Experimental Intervention in South Africa
We have run experimental interventions to promote HIV tests in a large firm in South Africa. We combined HIV tests with existing medical check programs (MSP and HCT) to increase the uptake. We have implemented three interventions intended to reduce fears and stigma for HIV tests: opt out, risk assessment, supportive information. Opt out asks subjects to opt out the test if one does not to take one. Risk assessment involves nurses to give immediate feedback on the set of questions on risky behavior. Under supportive information, subjects are shown five minute DVD to encourage testing. Uptake rate increased dramatically, but not only under experimental arms but also under the control arm. We find substantial heterogeneity in responses by ethnicity. In particular, supportive information increased the uptake of Whites-Others by almost 100% at the margin. Generally, experimental arms were ineffective in increasing the uptake of Africans and Colored. This general ineffectiveness against Africans and Colored is common among both MSP and HCT samples whose educational and household background differ significantly. We thus conjecture that factors related to their ethnic background to be the possible deterrents to tests.
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