Responsiveness to HIV education and VCT services among Kenyan rural women: a community-based survey.
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Uptake of VCT and other HIV prevention strategies among rural African women is affected by various socio-cultural and economic factors which need elucidation. Our aim was to establish the responsiveness to HIV education among rural women attending three dispensaries in Kenya. This study was designed to assess gender and psycho-social factors that influence HIV dynamics in rural Kenya. This was a cross-sectional questionnaire based study of 1347 women, conducted in October 2009. Socio-economic status as well as knowledge on methods of HIV transmission was assessed. Testing status, knowledge on existing VCT services and willingness to share HIV information with their children was assessed. Majority of the women have heard about VCT services, but significantly few of them have been tested. Those with secondary school education and above are more knowledgeable on methods of HIV transmission, while those with inadequate education are more likely to cite shaking hands, sharing utensils, mosquito bites and hugging as means of transmission (p = 0.001). 90% of educated women are willing to share HIV information with their children, compared to 40% of uneducated women. Marital status is seen to positively influence testing status, but has no significant effect on dissemination of information to children. We conclude that despite the aggressive HIV education and proliferation of VCT services in Kenya, women are not heeding the call to get tested. Education has a positive impact on dissemination of HIV information. Focus needs to shift into increasing acceptability of testing by women in rural Kenya.