An assessment of knowledge on VCT for HIV among adolescents in SHSs in the Nadowli district of the Upper West Region of Ghana using HIV/AIDS and VCT education

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Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) for HIV has long been recognized from many studies to have a potent effect on the reduction of HIV infections as well as case fatality and therefore is recommended in national HIV/AIDS control programmes. If VCT for HIV education is properly tailored to adolescents before VCT for HIV services are rendered to this age group significant result will be obtained in scaling up the patronage of VCT for HIV services as well as reducing the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS issues. However, education concerning the linkages between VCT for HIV and other relevant services remain not fully exploited in sub-Saharan Africa. This interventional study was carried out from August, 2008 to September, 2008 to find out the effect of HIV/VCT education on the uptake of VCT services by in-school adolescents at Nadowli Queen of Peace and Daffiama SHSs. It involved 100 students as intervention group and 100 others as control group in two SHSs in Nadowli district of Ghana. The intervention group was given HIV and VCT education while the control group was given ‘placebo’ education in personal hygiene before subjecting both groups to VCT services. The study revealed that 90 per cent of the respondents were willing to know their HIV status while still healthy but lacked basic information about VCT and therefore a lot of education should be channeled in that direction. The results of participation in the VCT for HIV exercise were also analyzed and it revealed that 91.80 per cent took the test in the intervention group while 80.00 per cent of respondents took the test in the control group. The study recommended that the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) and Ghana Health Service (GHS) should intensify mass campaigns on “Know your HIV status” throughout the year. This would benefit both in and out of school adolescents while the Ghana Education Service (GES) adds VCT education as a topic to the HIV/AIDS education that exist in the curriculum of SHSs and stress on VCT during the teaching and learning of these topics since adolescents play a role in the efforts towards reducing HIV/AIDS.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Masters of Science degree in Health Services Planning and Management.