Non-disclosure of HIV testing history in population-based surveys: implications for estimating a UNAIDS 90-90-90 target

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Title: Non-disclosure of HIV testing history in population-based surveys: implications for estimating a UNAIDS 90-90-90 target
Authors: Rentsch, C
Reniers, G
Machemba, R
Slaymaker, E
Marston, M
Wringe, A
Eaton, J
Gourlay, A
Rice, B
Kabadula, C
Urassa, M
Todd, J
Zaba, B
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background: HIV/AIDS programmes and organisations around the world use routinely updated estimates of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets to track progress and prioritise further programme implementation. Any bias in these estimates has the potential to mislead organisations on where gaps exist in HIV testing and treatment programmes. Objective: To measure the extent of undisclosed HIV testing history and its impact on estimating the proportion of people living with HIV (PLHIV) who know their HIV status (the ‘first 90’ of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets). Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using population-based HIV serological surveillance conducted between 2010 and 2016 and linked, directly observed HIV testing records in Kisesa, Tanzania. Generalised estimating equations logistic regression models were used to detect associations with non-disclosure of HIV testing history adjusting for demographic, behavioural, and clinical characteristics. We compared estimates of the ‘first 90’ using self-reported survey data only and augmented estimates using information from linked records to quantify the absolute and relative impact of undisclosed HIV testing history. Results: Numbers of participants in each of the survey rounds ranged from 7171 to 7981 with an average HIV prevalence of 6.9%. Up to 33% of those who tested HIV-positive and 34% of those who tested HIV-negative did not disclose their HIV testing history. The proportion of PLHIV who reported knowing their status increased from 34% in 2010 to 65% in 2016. Augmented estimates including information from directly observed testing history resulted in an absolute impact of 6.7 percentage points and relative impact of 12.4%. Conclusions: In this population, self-reported testing history in population-based HIV serological surveys under-estimated the percentage of HIV positives that are diagnosed by a relative factor of 12%. Research should be employed in other surveillance systems that benefit from linked data to investigate how bias may vary across settings.
Issue Date: 14-Dec-2018
Date of Acceptance: 21-Nov-2018
ISSN: 1654-9880
Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Journal / Book Title: Global Health Action
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permitsunrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sponsor/Funder: UNAIDS
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Medical Research Council
Funder's Grant Number: 2017/778519
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: 1553470
Online Publication Date: 2018-12-14
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Medicine
Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care

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