Linkage to care and treatment among men with reactive HIV self-tests after workplace-based testing in Uganda: A qualitative study

Patience A. Muwanguzi, La Ron E. Nelson, Tom D. Ngabirano, Noah Kiwanuka, Charles Peter Osingada, Nelson K. Sewankambo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: HIV self-testing at workplaces has the potential to reach men at risk of HIV infection with lower access to HIV testing services. While several studies have reported high uptake of HIV self-testing, linkage to HIV care following a positive result remains a challenge. This study, therefore, explored the motivators for and barriers to linkage to HIV care and treatment among men who returned positive results following workplace-based HIV self-testing. Methods: A qualitative descriptive study, among men in private security services in Kampala district, Uganda. The men were eligible to participate if they were aged 18 to 60 years and had worked at the company for more than 6 months. Following HIV self-testing, participants with reactive (positive) self-test results were purposively sampled and engaged in key informant interviews. Inductive content analysis was employed to identify the motivators and barriers to the men's linkage to HIV treatment and care. Results: Overall, 12 men participated in the study, of whom 9 (75%) were security guards, and the rest held management positions. The motivators for linkage to care coalesced under five categories. (i) Communication (open communication, phone reminders, consistent communication) (ii) Navigating health facility systems and processes (enabling health facility environment, easy access to health care, employing ART clinic counselors as part of the study team, health workers) (iii) Linkage support (linkage companions, referral forms, linkage facilitation, individualized linkage plan, pre-arranged clinic appointments) (iv) Psychosocial support (counseling sessions, family support, online and social media support, peer support) (v) workplace environment (employer's support, work schedules and policies). The barriers to linkage to HIV care included (i) Inflexible work schedules, (ii) Far distances to travel to access ART (iii) mandatory work transfers, (iv) disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, (v) Denial of HIV-positive results and (vi) fear of stigma and discrimination at health facilities. Conclusion: The findings suggest the need for innovative interventions to facilitate regular follow-up and open communication with workplace-based HIV self-testers, to improve linkage to HIV care and treatment. Furthermore, initiating linkage plans during pre-test counseling and working in collaboration with health facilities and clinics may improve linkage to care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number650719
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Muwanguzi, Nelson, Ngabirano, Kiwanuka, Osingada and Sewankambo.

Keywords

  • HIV self-testing
  • linkage to care
  • men
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • workplace

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