Journal Article

Alcohol consumption as a barrier to prior HIV testing in a population-based study in rural Uganda

Early receipt of HIV care and ART is essential for improving treatment outcomes, but is dependent first upon HIV testing. Heavy alcohol consumption is common in sub-Saharan Africa, a barrier to ART adherence, and a potential barrier to HIV care. We conducted a population-based study of 2,516 adults in southwestern Uganda from November–December 2007, and estimated the relative risk of having never been tested for HIV using sex-stratified Poisson models. More men (63.9%) than women (56.9%) had never been tested. In multivariable analysis, compared to women who had not consumed alcohol for at least 5 years, women who were current heavy drinkers and women who last drank alcohol 1–5 years prior, were more likely to have never been tested. Alcohol use was not associated with prior HIV testing among men. HIV testing strategies may thus need to specifically target women who drink alcohol.