This research sought to establish factors that influence students at a university in Tanzania to go for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) of human immune deficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). The study adopted a case study design done under an interpretivist paradigm and employed a qualitative research approach. Sixty seven respondents were selected by using purposive and snowball samplings. Primary data was obtained from semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Secondary data was obtained from documentary reviews of reports at the university in which the study was carried out. Data was analysed by using content analysis. It was found that university students recommended VCT services to other people but would not go themselves because of fear of the consequences of HIV positive results such as stigmatization, isolation and stress. Students also do not go for VCT because they are unsure about confidentiality issues, and they have a misunderstanding of benefits of HIV testing and peer pressure. Few students went for VCT as they were influenced by factors such as marriage, the need to know their statuses, encouragement from different organisations and the great role that is played by peer educators. The study concluded that until an effective treatment for HIV/AIDS is discovered and availed to the affected individuals and communities, VCT remains the major strategy for the reduction of the disease. University students’ attitudes towards VCT play an indispensable role towards the attainment of the services. The study recommends that sensitization about HIV/AIDS VCT be increased so that students may be able to break the bond of terror and go for HIV testing in order to access life prolonging drugs earlier if they are HIV positive. More HIV/AIDS programmes such as seminars which are related to VCT should be frequently done in universities.
Key words: Human immune deficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), voluntary counselling and testing, university students.
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