Skip to main content
School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

Intention to Seek Regular HIV and Syphilis Testing and Associated Factors Among Female Sex Workers in Uganda

Background: Few studies have evaluated intentions to undergo periodic sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV testing among female sex workers (FSW) in Sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to assess intention to seek periodic syphilis and HIV testing among FSW in Uganda. Methods: Between July and October 2018, we conducted a cross-sectional study among 441 FSW. Participants were recruited through peer referrals. Self-reported data on intention to take a syphilis test in the next 3 months and an HIV test in next 6 months were obtained using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. We used constructs of the Integrated Change Model to assess intentions, attitudes, norms, social influences and self-efficacy towards 3-monthly syphilis and 6-monthly HIV testing. Predictors of intention to seek testing were estimated using linear regression.Results: A total of 441 FSW were included in the analysis, and the median age was 26 years (interquartile range [IQR] 23–30). Most (66.9%) reported high intention to take an HIV test in the next 6 months, and 51.9% showed high intention to take a serological syphilis test in the next 3 months. In multivariable analysis, never testing for HIV was associated with low intention of testing (β=-0.15, p=0.001). Factors significantly associated with high intentions to test for HIV in the next 6 months were perceived influence of significant others (β=0.08, p=0.03), high self-efficacy (β=0.26, p=0.001) and high attitude scores (β=0.45, p=0.001). Similarly, high attitude (β=0.30, P=0.001) and descriptive norms (β=0.32, P=0.001) were associated with high intentions to test for syphilis in the next three months.  Conclusion: These results suggest public health programs promoting routine HIV and syphilis testing should consider factors such as attitudes, descriptive norms, social influences, self-efficacy and past behaviours which inform intention to undergo STI testing. 
Year of Publication
BMC Public Health
Date Published
Posted 03 Mar, 2020
Type of Article
Research article
ISBN Number