HIV testing services in healthcare facilities in South Africa: a missed opportunity

Tonderai Mabuto, Bhakti Hansoti, Deanna Kerrigan, Nolundi Mshweshwe-Pakela, Griffiths Kubeka, Salome Charalambous, Christopher Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: South Africa (SA) has the world's highest burden of HIV infection (approximately 7.2 million), yet it is estimated that 23.5% women and 31.5% of men are unaware that they are living with HIV. The 2015 national South African HIV testing guidelines mandate the universal offer of HIV testing services (HTS) in all healthcare facilities. Methods: A multi-prong approach was used from January 2017 to June 2017 to evaluate the current implementation of HTS in ten facilities in the Ekurhuleni District of SA. First, we conducted patient exit interviews to quantify engagement in HTS services. Second, we systematically mapped the flow of individual patients through the clinic. Results: We conducted a total of 2989 exit interviews and followed 568 patients for value stream mapping. Overall self-reported testing acceptance was high at 84.7% (244), but <10% of the patients (288) were offered testing. Female patients were more likely to be offered testing (233/2046, 11.4% vs. 55/943, 5.8% in males; chi-square p < 0.005), and also more likely to accept testing (203/233, 87.1% vs. 41/55, 74.6% in males; chi-square p = 0.02). Value stream mapping revealed that patients offered HIV testing had a total visit time of 51 minutes more (95% CI: 30-72) compared to those not offered testing. Conclusions: The poor delivery of HTS appears to be due to a failure to recommend HTS and the added time burden placed on those accepting testing. There were significant differences in both the offer and acceptance of testing by gender. Health system issues need to be addressed to improve HTS delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere25367
JournalJournal of the International AIDS Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • South Africa
  • facility-based testing
  • implementation science
  • primary care
  • public health
  • testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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