A mixed methods study of the factors associated with HIV testing uptake among young people in Saudi Arabia

Almilaibary, Abdullah Abdulbasit

Health studies
March 2017

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2017 Abdullah Abdulbasit Almilaibary. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

Background
Despite recent progress in enhancing the accessibility of HIV-related health services worldwide, opportunities to diagnose patients are often missed due to genuine barriers at different levels. The aim of this study is to explore the factors that affect the uptake of HIV testing by young people in Saudi Arabia.

Methods
A sequential mixed methods design was used to reveal the factors that influenced HIV testing among young people aged 17-25 years. In terms of the quantitative strand of the study, a descriptive cross-sectional design was applied to identify the relevant and context-specific factors that influenced HIV testing among Umm- Al Qura University students. The students were selected using a convenience sampling technique. Self-completed online questionnaire was used. The questionnaire consisted of 52 items: 12 items for HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, 3 items for risk perception, and 37 items for attitudes toward HIV testing. For the qualitative strand of the study, semi-structured interviews were used to gather the perspectives of healthcare professionals working in the field of HIV/AIDS in the country.

Results
Three hundred and ninety four participants completed the questionnaire: 116 (29.4%) male and 278 (70%) female. 50.5% of the participants were aged from 20 to 22 years, 34.8% were 17-19 years and 14.7% were aged between 23-25 years. Only 20 (6%) participants had previously been tested for HIV. The main reasons for not being tested for HIV were: exposure to HIV was considered unlikely (48%), the HIV test was not offered (36%), and a lack of awareness of the locations of HIV testing centres (16%). With regard to HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, the male participants scored higher than the females as the mean score for males was (M = 6.4, SD = 2.4) while for females it was (M = 5.7, SD = 2.5); however, this difference was not significant. In terms of risk perception, female participants had lower levels of risk perception than male participants, with the mean score for males being (M = 11.7, SD = 2.5) and (M = 10.5, SD = 2.4) for females; this difference was statistically significant p < 0.01. The female participants showed slightly more positive attitudes towards HIV testing than male participants: the mean score for males was (M = 108.14, SD = 17.9) and was (M = 111.32, SD = 17.3) for females. However, this difference was not significant. Healthcare professionals who were interviewed indicated stigma, an HIV/AIDS knowledge gap and fear of the consequences of a positive result as the main factors hindering the uptake of the HIV test.

Conclusions
Knowledge, attitudes and HIV risk perception are critical factors that inform the decision to undertake HIV testing. However, socio-cultural constraints constitute a significant additional burden that hinders the efforts to scale up the HIV testing uptake in Saudi Arabia.

Publisher
Department of Health Studies, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Jolley, Jeremy; Hayter, Mark (Professor of nursing and health research)
Sponsor (Organisation)
Saudi Arabia; Al Baha University
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
3 MB
Identifier
hull:15511
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