Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) together with a safe sexual behaviour is an important preventive strategy in the control of HIV. Although Health care workers (HCWs) are critical in the response to HIV, little is known about VCT and high risk behaviours (HRB) among this group in West Africa. This study aims to assess the prevalence of VCT and HRB among HCWs in Burkina Faso.
We collected data through a questionnaire in urban areas (Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso) and rural areas (Poni and Yatenga) among HCWs from 97 health care facilities. Urine samples were collected, screened for HIV using a Calypte(R) test kit and confirmed by Western Blot. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with the use of VCT services and with high-risk sex behaviour.
About 92.5% of eligible HCWs participated (1570 out of 1697). Overall, 38.2% of them (34.6% of women and 42.6% of men) had ever used VCT services. About 40% of HCWs reported that fear of knowing the test result was the main reason for not doing the HIV test. Male HCWs (p = 0.001), laboratory workers (p < 0.001), those having two years or more experience (p = 0.03), and those who had multiple partners (p = 0.001) were more likely to have tested for HIV. One fifth of HCWs reported multiple partners. Of these, thirteen percent did not use condoms. HCWs who had multiple partners were significantly more likely to be men, single, living in rural areas, and under the age of 29 years.
VCT was still very low among HCWs in Burkina Faso, while HRB was high.These findings suggest that 'HCW-friendly' VCT centres should be implemented, securing confidentiality among colleagues. In addition, refreshment courses on HIV risk reduction, counselling and testing are certainly required during the professional career of HCWs.