Why dont key populations access HIV testing and counselling centres in Nepal? Findings based on national surveillance survey. BMJ Open


Objectives To assess the demographic, behavioural, psychosocial and structural factors associated with non-utilisation of HIV testing and counselling (HTC) services by female sex workers (FSWs) and men who have sex with men/transgender (MSM/TG).

Methods This study involved a cross-sectional design. We used the national surveillance survey data of 2012, which included 610 FSWs and 400 MSM/TG recruited randomly from 22 and three districts of Nepal, respectively. Adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) using modified Poisson regression was used to assess and infer the association between outcome (non-utilisation of HTC in last year) and independent variables.


Non-utilisation of HTC in the last year was 54% for FSWs and 55% for MSM/TG. The significant factors for non-utilisation of HTC among FSWs were depression (aPR=1.4 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.6)), injectable drug abuse (ever) (aPR=1.4 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.8)), participation (ever) in HIV awareness programmes (aPR=1.2 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.4)), experience of forced sex in previous year (aPR=1.1 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.3)) and absence of dependents in the family (aPR=1.1 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.3)). Non-utilisation of HTC among MSM/TG had significant association with age 16–19 years (aPR=1.4 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.7)), non-condom use (aPR=1.2 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.4)), participation (ever) in HIV awareness programmes (aPR=1.6 (95% CI 1.3 to 2.0)), physical assault in previous year (aPR=1.8 (95% CI 1.0 to 3.1)), experience of forced sex in previous year (aPR=0.5 (95% CI 0.3 to 0.9)).


Although limited by cross-sectional design, we found many programmatically relevant findings. Creative strategies should be envisaged for effective behavioural change communication to improve access to HIV testing. Psychosocial and structural interventions should be integrated with HIV prevention programmes to support key populations in accessing HIV testing.

For more details: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29288177