HIV Self-Testing, Self-Stigma and Haart Treatment at the University of Limpopo: Health Sciences Students’ Opinion and Perspectives



Engetani Nkuna*, Norman Z. Nyazema*
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Univeristy of Limpopo, P. Bag X 1106, Sovenga 0727, Limpopo, South Africa


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© Nkuna and Nyazema; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0)(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode), which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to these authors at the Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Univeristy of Limpopo, P. Bag X 1106, Sovenga 0727, Limpopo, South Africa; Email: norman.nyazema@ul.ac.za


Abstract

HIV self-testing (HIVST) is an empowering process in which an individual performs an HIV rapid diagnostic test and interprets the result in privacy. Policy makers have turned to it to facilitate greater uptake, earlier diagnosis, access to prevention, care and treatment services. The University of Limpopo now has an established HIV counselling and testing (HCT) service. Unfortunately, the uptake of this HCT service by the student body is not encouraging.

It was against this background that a study was carried out among health sciences students, to assess the potential of HIVST to increase access to and uptake of HIV testing on campus. Information was gathered through focus group discussions and the social media Whatspp, among 300 health sciences students, to provide a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response to an enquiry, about HIVST and the pregnancy test. One on one discussion on the same issues was also held with the staff at the student Health Centre which now stocks ARVs.

About 51% of the students, the majority being females indicated that they would go for the HIVST. Students’ opinion and perspectives appeared to suggest that there was a potential for the HIVST to increase uptake for HIV testing.

Keywords: Diagnostic, HIV self-testing, opinion, perspectives, students.