Factors Associated with HIV Counseling and Testing Among Young People in Nigeria
The use of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counselling and testing (HCT) is a necessary component of implementing HIV prevention and control programs in Nigeria. Knowledge, acceptance, and use of HCT remain low in Nigeria, especially among young people ages 15 to 24 years. The purpose of this study was to ascertain how sociodemographic factors (i.e., gender, place of residence, level of education, geopolitical zone, and socioeconomic status [SES]); cognitive factors (i.e., HCT awareness, knowledge of HIV prevention, and knowledge of HIV transmission); and knowledge of sexual risk behaviors affected HCT uptake among young people in Nigeria using data from the 2013 National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey Plus. The study was guided by the social cognitive theory. The sample was composed of 10,091 young people ages 15 to 24 years from all geopolitical zones, SES, and educational backgrounds in Nigeria. Multiple regressions and multivariate comparisons revealed a significant relationship between HCT awareness and HCT uptake (p < .001) and between knowledge of HIV prevention and HCT uptake (p < .001). Sociodemographic variables of gender, place of residence, level of education, geopolitical zone, and SES were also significantly associated with HCT uptake. The sexual risk behavior variables tested were not significantly associated with HCT uptake among young people in Nigeria. The implications for positive social change include providing public health professionals with data to plan and implement HCT awareness and knowledge programs for young people in Nigeria that could increase HCT uptake and reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS.