An investigation into the psychosocial factors associated with willingness to test for HIV among a sample of first year psychology students at a South African tertiary institution.
HIV/AIDS has exacted a devastating death toll on sub-Saharan Africa. Of the African countries South Africa has been the hardest hit by the epidemic. Young people between the ages 15-24 have been identified as the group most at risk for contracting HIV. The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been shown to decrease opportunistic infections and increase lifespan and quality of life of HIV infected people. VCT is an entry point to accessing life saving treatment as well as psycho-emotional and social support. A concern is that not all people who are at risk for VCT get tested. It is important to examine which psychosocial factors affect the uptake of VCT. A questionnaire that measures willingness to test for HlV and various other psychosocial and socio-demographic factors affecting VCT uptake, was administered to a group of first year psychology students, (N= 181). Chi Square (X2 ) analysis determined that knowledge of HIV transmission, knowledge of VCT, fear of testing, perceived social support and perceived social stigma were significantly associated with willingness to test for HIV (p