HIV/AIDS: Appraising the Utilization of HIV Counselling and Testing Services among Young People in Anambra State, Nigeria
HIV counselling and testing (HCT) is a key strategy for HIV prevention and management. The number of young people living with HIV has risen by 25% between 2005 and 2015, and HIV/AIDS strongly relates with mortality of young people in Africa and the second leading cause of death among young people worldwide. Promoting knowledge and the uptake of HCT among the young population will boost the fight against HIV/AIDS. This study explores young people’s knowledge of HCT services, the barriers to access, and the place of social work profession promoting uptake in Nigeria. Six Focus Group Discussion (FGD) sessions involving a total of 60 participants were conducted in 3 communities in Anambra State. Peer debriefing and observer triangulation informed the analysis. Findings revealed
that utilization of HCT services in the study area had setbacks owing to low-level awareness and coverage of the service at the grass-root, fear of testing positive, stigma and discrimination and attitude of the health workers. The study highlighted the responsibilities of social work professionals in HCT centres and how they can engage in enlightening and counselling young people on the purpose and benefits of timely access to HCT services.