Routine, voluntary HIV testing in Durban, South Africa: correlates of HIV infection


  • *These data were presented in part at the South African AIDS Conference, Durban, South Africa, June 2005 and the Infectious Disease Society of America Conference, San Francisco, CA, USA, October 2005.

Dr Ingrid V. Bassett, Massachusetts General Hospital, 50 Staniford Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Tel: +1 617 726 0637; fax: +1 617 726 2691; e-mail:



Routine HIV testing is increasingly recommended in resource-limited settings. Our objective was to evaluate factors associated with a new diagnosis of HIV infection in a routine HIV testing programme in South Africa.


We established a routine HIV testing programme in an out-patient department in Durban, South Africa. All registered adults were offered a rapid HIV test; we surveyed a sample of tested patients.


During the 12-week study, 1414 adults accepted HIV testing. Of those, 463 (32.7%) were HIV-infected. Seven hundred and twenty (50.9%) were surveyed. Compared with married women, unmarried men were at the highest risk of HIV [odds ratio (OR) 6.84; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.45–23.55], followed by unmarried women (OR 5.90; 95% CI 3.25–10.70) and married men (OR 4.00; 95% CI 2.04–7.83). Age 30–39 years (compared with ≥50 years; OR 5.10; 95% CI 2.86–9.09), no prior HIV test (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.07–2.27) and an imperfect HIV knowledge score (OR 2.32; 95% CI 1.24–4.35) were also associated with HIV infection.


In a routine HIV testing programme in South Africa, rates of previously undiagnosed HIV were highest among men, young and unmarried patients, and those with poorer HIV knowledge. Better interventions are needed to improve HIV knowledge and decrease HIV risk behaviour.