Attitudes towards premarital HIV testing among high-school students in the United Arab Emirates, and evaluation of an educational intervention

Maria Ganczak, Peter Barss, Michal Grivna, Marcin Korzeń, Roos Bernsen, Beata Karakiewicz, Fatma Al Maskari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: The aim of the study was to evaluate acceptance of compulsory premarital HIV testing (PHT) among high-school students, and factors associated with support for various options given a positive result, before/after an educational intervention. Material and methods: A pre-/post-interventional evaluation survey was conducted in 18 randomly selected schools in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, before or immediately after a 90-minute intervention by medical students. Descriptive analysis was completed by SPSS, adjusted odds ratios (OR) using multilevel logistic regression with R. Results: One thousand nine hundred and three (99.6%) students participated in the survey (mean age, 17.6 years). Pre-intervention 91% supported compulsory PHT of a prospective spouse and 9% left the decision to parents; post-intervention 95% and 5%; p < 0.001). For a positive test, 36% would openly reveal the prospective spouse's status (32%, post-intervention). Adjusted by logistic regression, pre-intervention support to report HIV-positive test result shows correlation with male gender (OR, 1.85), high level of HIV/AIDS knowledge (OR, 1.37), negative attitudes towards PLHIV (OR, 1.47), and Emirati citizenship (OR, 1.43). Post-intervention, the values were: 0.87, 1.72, 2.17, 0.84, respectively. Conclusions: High acceptance of compulsory PHT among young Arabs suggests perceived vulnerability to HIV during marriage. Positive results may be socially isolating. Educational interventions of youth can be effective in reducing HIV-related stigma, and facilitate independent decisions about testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalHIV and AIDS Review
Publication statusPublished - Jan 25 2017


  • Arab
  • Educational intervention
  • HIV testing
  • Premarital
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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