Facilitators and barriers for HIV-testing in Zambia: A systematic review of multi-level factors

Post date: April 2018

It was estimated that 1.2 million people live with HIV/AIDS in Zambia by 2015. Zambia has developed and implemented diverse programs to reduce the prevalence in the country. HIV-testing is a critical step in HIV treatment and prevention, especially among all the key populations. However, there is no systematic review so far to demonstrate the trend of HIV-testing studies in Zambia since 1990s or synthesis the key factors that associated with HIV-testing practices in the country. Therefore, this study conducted a systematic review to search all English literature published prior to November 2016 in six electronic databases and retrieved 32 articles that meet our inclusion criteria. The results indicated that higher education was a common facilitator of HIV testing, while misconception of HIV testing and the fear of negative consequences were the major barriers for using the testing services. Other factors, such as demographic characteristics, marital dynamics, partner relationship, and relationship with the health care services, also greatly affects the participants’ decision making. The findings indicated that 1) individualized strategies and comprehensive services are needed for diverse key population; 2) capacity building for healthcare providers is critical for effectively implementing the task-shifting strategy; 3) HIV testing services need to adapt to the social context of Zambia where HIV-related stigma and discrimination is still persistent and overwhelming; and 4) family-based education and intervention should involving improving gender equity.

Shan Qiao, Yao Zhang , Xiaoming Li, J. Anitha Menon
Year of publication