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Master’s Thesis: HIV testing service uptake in Finland: A study on barriers and facilitators

Bancy Kinyua and Nabina Kunwar explored HIV testing service uptake in Finland

Since the 1970s when the first case of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was detected, there have been a lot of controversies since the topic is a sensitive one. Since then, it has been classified as a global epidemic having claimed millions of people so far. However, due to advancement in treatment, nowadays HIV has been considered a manageable condition, but if appropriate interventions are not initiated early, it can advance to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) leading to opportunistic diseases hence death.

Master’s Students of Master’s Degree Programme in Global Development and Management in Health care Bancy Kinyua and Nabina Kunwar conducted an integrative literature review to seek evidence on factors that contributes to low HIV testing service uptake in Finland, and factors that when put into practice can lead to increased HIV testing service uptake. The goal is to increase awareness of accessibility and use of HIV testing service in Finland to reduce late diagnosis.

Testing is crucial step

The study included 10 articles searched using four electronic databases. Reviewed literatures confirmed that, there are numerous factors that facilitate or act as barriers to HIV testing service up-take. The most common barriers identified from reviewed studies are lack of perceived HIV risk, lack of knowledge and awareness about HIV, lack of access to testing, providers’ time constraint, discomfort and communication problem, and stigma and fear. Respectively, common identified facilitators are: Integrating HIV services into primary healthcare and normalizing testing, increasing knowledge and awareness and access to testing.

HIV testing is crucial step for prevention and early detection of infection to improve prognosis of treatment and prevent further transmission. Therefore, recognizing the key barriers and facilitators to HIV testing is essential to increase population testing uptake capacity. Findings can be used as a tool to facilitate creation of effective strategies, aimed at increasing HIV testing service uptake, and decreasing the number of infected people who are unaware of their status.

However, there is lack of evidence to what extent the findings are applicable to Finnish setting and therefore more research is needed to verify these findings.

The Master's thesis can be accessed through Theseus.

Further Information:

Bancy Kinyua,
Degree Programme in Global Development and Management in Health Care
tel. +358 40 5490301

Nabina Kunwar
Degree Programme in Global Development and Management in Health Care
+358 40 3696109