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Acceptance of Routine Testing for HIV among Adult Patients at the Medical Emergency Unit at a National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda

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HIV testing is an entry point to comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention and care. In Uganda, Routine Testing and Counseling for HIV (RTC) is not widely offered as part of standard medical care in acute care settings. This study determined the acceptance of RTC in a medical emergency setting at Mulago national referral hospital. We interviewed 233 adult patients who were offered HIV testing. Overall, 83% were unaware of their HIV serostatus and 88% of these had been to a health unit in the previous six months. Of the 208 eligible for HIV testing, 95% accepted to test. Half the patients were HIV infected and 77% of these were diagnosed during the study. HIV testing was highly acceptable and detected a significant number of undiagnosed HIV infections. We recommend adoption of RTC as standard of care in the medical emergency unit in order to scale HIV diagnosis and linkage to HIV/AIDS care.

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This study was funded by NIH Research Grant # D43 TW000011 funded by the Forgaty International Center. We acknowledge all patients at Mulago national referral hospital who participated in the study. Special acknowledgement goes to Andrew Kambugu (Infectious Disease Institute, Makerere University Kampala) and Rhoda Wanyenze (Mulago Mbarara teaching hospitals’ Joint Aids Program) for their contribution to the successful design and conduct of this study.

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Correspondence to Damalie Nakanjako.

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Nakanjako, D., Kamya, M., Daniel, K. et al. Acceptance of Routine Testing for HIV among Adult Patients at the Medical Emergency Unit at a National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. AIDS Behav 11, 753–758 (2007).

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