Effectiveness of voluntary counseling and testing (v.C.T.) in the fight Against HIV/AIDS among the youth: A case study of Thika District
HIV/AlDS has been a major problem in Africa today especially in Kenya where over 3 million people mainly in the age brackets of 15-49 years are infected. Voluntary counseling and testing has been identified as an effective response to the pandemic. One can find out whether he is infected with the HIV! AIDS virus and thereafter seek the best health strategy to adopt in order to make life more meaningful whether positive or negative. The specific aim of this study was to find out how the youth perceive their risk of HIV/AIDS. determine whether the voluntary counseling process in the VCT centers affects the motivation of the youth for VCT services. find out if the counselor characteristics influence the youth responsiveness to VCT services and lastly establish \vhe~her the location of \'CT centers influences the attitudes of the vouth to the VCT services This research was conduced in Thika Drstric: wuhin [he Central Province of Kenva The researcher used both quanurauve and qualitative research A. questionnaire was administred on 36 young respondents within the age bracket . years focused group discussion was held WIth 8 VCT counselors. J Geographical divisions were captured Ruiru. Thika municipality and Kakuzi. The study captured both male and females vlajoritv or' them \\ere single and unemployed The respondents had heard about HIV /AIDS from the RlOIO. ~newspapers and even from Churches Majority of them admitted that HIV'/AIDSis real, dangerous and causes many deaths yet quue a number of them were still involved In sexual relationships majorityconsidered themselves to be at no risk of HI\'.-\IDS but only 9°0 or-chose interviewed were using a condom Others were remaining tauhrul-to their partners yet faithrulness can be violated bearing JI1 mIr1U that only .i small percentage or' .hern were married The study observed that the youth have had about VCT Centers and the se;.lces mat .rre offered there vlany of them have been tested to know their HIV .\IDS status :::U[ others 11:1\e failed [0 do so because or' fear. lack of time and finances - 1.'\ Majority of the youth agreed that VCT is an effective tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS. More should be set up in every location especially in the rural areas. The study also found out that attending VCT Centers is a matter of interest as when one is interested in other services like discos and cinema halls, people travel many kilometers Among the major recommendations made by this study, the youth must be involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. They must be the chief campaigners and positive speakers in order to attract other youth in this fight. The VCTs must be youth friendly by operating flexible hours like over lunchtime and late in the evening to attract more youth. The VCTs also need to be located far from the main health facilities to ensure privacy The counselors also need to be trained to cope with the special needs of the youth In terms or' sexual relationships, peer pressure and drug abuse.