Background: HIV testing for family members of HIV-positive patients may enhance disclosure of status of spouses, encourage family social support and improve access to HIV services. Objective was to employ the approach of routine HIV testing to determine the prevalence of HIV among family members of both HIV positive and negative patients on admission in a federal HIV treatment designated hospital in Western Nigeria
Methodology: This prospective study was conducted between January 2006 and June 2009. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Research and Ethics committee of the hospital prior to the study. Informed consent was obtained from each participant. HIV testing was offered to consenting family members of HIV positive and negative patients on admission. The family members included spouses, children of patients, parents of paediatric patients and other family members. Analysis was done in frequencies and percentages
Results: 162 family members of 184 patients were tested. Spouses were, 81 (50.0%); fathers, 14 (8.6%); mothers, 20 (12.3%); children, 19 (11.7%) and others family members, 28 (17.3%). 151 (93.2%) of testers were first timers. Majority of those tested (82.1%) had post-test counseling. The overall HIV prevalence was 12.3% (20/162). HIV prevalence within different family members was 14.8% (12/81), 20% (4/20), 7.1% (1/14), 10.5% (2/19) and 3.6% (1/28) for spouses, mothers, fathers, children and others respectively.In addition, the prevalence of HIV among family members of HIV positive and negative patients was 15.6% (14/90) and 8.3% (6/72) respectively. Of 12 spouses that were positive, 7 (13.5%) were HIV-discordant; and in 71.4% (5/7) of discordant couples, the spouse was positive while the patient on admission was negative.
Conclusion: The results indicate that routine HIV testing of family members of patients on admission is a strategy for identification of vast number of HIV infected persons. This method is not only innovative, but also a novel approach for scaling up of access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services in Nigeria and the rest of sub-Sahara Africa
Routine HIV testing, hospitalized patients, family members of patients, prevalence of HIV
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