Despite Nigeria’s high HIV prevalence, voluntary testing and counselling rates remain low. UNAIDS/WHO/CDC recommends provider-initiated testing and counselling (PITC) for HIV in settings with high HIV prevalence. We aimed to assess the acceptability and logistical feasibility of the PITC strategy among adolescents and adults in a secondary health care centre in Idekpa Benue state, Nigeria.
All patients (aged ≥ 13 years) who visited the out-patient department and antenatal care unit of General Hospital Idekpa, Benue state, Nigeria were offered PITC for HIV. The intervention was implemented by trained health professionals for the period spanning (June to December 2010).
Among the 212 patients who were offered PITC for HIV, 199 (94%) accepted HIV testing, 10 patients (4.7%) opted out and 3 patients (1.4%) were undecided. Of the 199 participants who were tested for HIV, 9% were HIV seropositive. The PITC strategy was highly acceptable and feasible, and increased the number of patients who tested for HIV by 5% compared to voluntary counselling and testing. Findings from this assessment were consistent with those from other sub-Saharan African countries (such as Uganda and South Africa).
PITC for HIV was highly acceptable and logistically feasible, and resulted in an increased rate of HIV testing among patients. Public health initiatives (such as the PITC strategy) that facilitate early detection of HIV and referral for early treatment should be encouraged for broader HIV control and prevention in Nigerian communities.