THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UPTAKE OF HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV) TESTING AND STIGMA AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN THE KLANG VALLEY
The prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is on the rise among adolescents and young people and these people are frequently subjected to significant levels of stigma, resulting in most of them avoiding HIV testing services. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of HIV testing uptake and its associated factors among students who were willing to undergo HIV testing. A cross-sectional study across five campuses within the Klang Valley was conducted between March to May 2020. Data were collected using an online self-administered questionnaire and the HIV Stigma Scale (HSS) was used to assess perceived stigma towards people with HIV. The results were analyzed using SPSS 26.0 and the prevalence of HIV testing uptake and its associated factors were assessed using multiple logistic regression. A total of 305 students showed a willingness to undergo HIV testing, with only 17% (95% CI; 13.0,21.0)(N=52) of the students ever undergoing an HIV test. The overall stigma associated with HIV was found to be high (93.4%) among the students. Students enrolled in non-health-related courses (AOR=0.33, 95% CI; 0.15,0.73), 5th year students (AOR=0.13, 95%CI; 0.02, 0.78), older aged people (AOR=1.35, 95% CI; 1.03,1.78), and those who had multiple sexual partners (AOR=5.28, 95% CI 1.42,19.60) were significantly associated with HIV testing uptake. Although stigma was associated with HIV testing in simple logistic regression, it was not significant in the multivariate logistic analysis and there was no correlation between HIV uptake and HIV-related stigma. The prevalence of HIV uptake among students was low, and it was discovered that variables acting as facilitators were students who engaged in risky behaviors, and that these variables should be formulated and incorporated into advanced university-based programs to harness the potential of testing and expand it to periodic HIV testing.
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