OBJECTIVE: Due to high rates of undiagnosed and untreated HIV infection in Africa, we compared HIV counseling and testing (VCT) uptake among household members of patients receiving antiretroviral therapy.
METHODS: HIV-infected persons attending an AIDS clinic were randomized to a home-based or clinic-based antiretroviral therapy program including VCT for household members. Clinic arm participants were given free VCT vouchers and encouraged to invite their household members to the clinic for VCT. Home arm participants were visited, and their household members offered VCT using a 3-test rapid finger-stick testing algorithm. VCT uptake and HIV prevalence were compared.
FINDINGS: Of 7184 household members, 3974 (55.3%) were female and 4798 (66.8%) were in the home arm. Home arm household members were more likely to receive VCT than those from the clinic arm (55.8% vs. 10.9%, odds ratio: 10.41, 95% confidence interval: 7.89 to 13.73; P < 0.001), although the proportion of HIV-infected household members was higher in the clinic arm (17.3% vs. 7.1%, odds ratio: 2.76, 95% confidence interval: 1.97 to 3.86, P < 0.001). HIV prevalence among all household members tested in the home arm was 56% compared with 27% in the clinic arm. Of 148 spouses of HIV-infected patients, 69 (46.6%) were uninfected. Persons aged 15-24 were less likely to test than other age groups, and in the home arm, women were more likely to test than men.
CONCLUSIONS: Home-based VCT for household members of HIV-infected persons was feasible, associated with lower prevalence, higher uptake, and increased identification of HIV-infected persons than clinic-based provision.