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BMJ Open. 2012; 2(5): e001171.
Published online Sep 6, 2012. doi:  10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001171
PMCID: PMC3467632
Promotion of couples’ voluntary HIV counselling and testing in Lusaka, Zambia by influence network leaders and agents
Kristin M Wall,1,2,4 William Kilembe,1,2,3 Azhar Nizam,1,2,5 Cheswa Vwalika,1,2,3 Michelle Kautzman,1,2,3 Elwyn Chomba,1,2,3,6 Amanda Tichacek,1,2 Gurkiran Sardar,1,2,3,8 Deborah Casanova,1,2,3 Faith Henderson,1,2,3 Joseph Mulenga,1,2,3,7 David Kleinbaum,1,2,4 and Susan Allen1,2
1Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group, School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
2Hubert Dept of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
3Zambia Emory HIV Research Project, Lusaka, Zambia
4Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
5Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
6University Teaching Hospital and University of Zambia School of Medicine, Lusaka, Zambia
7Zambia National Blood Transfusion Services, Lusaka, Zambia
8College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Correspondence to Kristin M Wall; kmwall/at/emory.edu
Received March 20, 2012; Accepted July 20, 2012.
Abstract
Objectives
Hypothesising that couples’ voluntary counselling and testing (CVCT) promotions can increase CVCT uptake, this study identified predictors of successful CVCT promotion in Lusaka, Zambia.
Design
Cohort study.
Setting
Lusaka, Zambia.
Participants
68 influential network leaders (INLs) identified 320 agents (INAs) who delivered 29 119 CVCT invitations to heterosexual couples.
Intervention
The CVCT promotional model used INLs who identified INAs, who in turn conducted community-based promotion and distribution of CVCT invitations in two neighbourhoods over 18 months, with a mobile unit in one neighbourhood crossing over to the other mid-way through.
Primary outcome
The primary outcome of interest was couple testing (yes/no) after receipt of a CVCT invitation. INA, couple and invitation characteristics predictive of couples’ testing were evaluated accounting for two-level clustering.
Results
INAs delivered invitations resulting in 1727 couples testing (6% success rate). In multivariate analyses, INA characteristics significantly predictive of CVCT uptake included promoting in community-based (adjusted OR (aOR)=1.3; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.8) or health (aOR=1.5; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.0) networks versus private networks; being employed in the sales/service industry (aOR=1.5; 95% CI 1.0 to 2.1) versus unskilled manual labour; owning a home (aOR=0.7; 95% CI 0.6 to 0.9) versus not; and having tested for HIV with a partner (aOR=1.4; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.7) or alone (aOR=1.3; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.6) versus never having tested. Cohabiting couples were more likely to test (aOR=1.4; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.6) than non-cohabiting couples. Context characteristics predictive of CVCT uptake included inviting couples (aOR=1.2; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.4) versus individuals; the woman (aOR=1.6; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.2) or couple (aOR=1.4; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.8) initiating contact versus the INA; the couple being socially acquainted with the INA (aOR=1.6; 95% CI 1.4 to 1.9) versus having just met; home invitation delivery (aOR=1.3; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.5) versus elsewhere; and easy invitation delivery (aOR=1.8; 95% CI 1.4 to 2.2) versus difficult as reported by the INA.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated the ability of influential people to promote CVCT and identified agent, couple and context-level factors associated with CVCT uptake in Lusaka, Zambia. We encourage the development of CVCT promotions in other sub-Saharan African countries to support sustained CVCT dissemination.
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