In developing countries, most people infected with HIV do not know their infection status. The authors aimed to assess whether HIV testing could be increased by combination of community mobilisation, mobile community-based voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), and support after testing.
Project Accept is underway in ten communities in Tanzania, eight in Zimbabwe, and 14 in Thailand. Communities at each site were paired according to similar demographic and environmental characteristics, and one community from each pair was randomly assigned to receive standard clinic-based VCT (SVCT), and the other community was assigned to receive community-based VCT (CBVCT) plus access to SVCT. Randomisation and assignment of communities to intervention groups was done by the statistics centre by computer; no one was masked to treatment assignment because the interventions were community based. Intervention was provided for about 3 years (2006—09). The primary endpoint of HIV incidence is pending completion of assessments after the intervention. In this interim analysis, we examined the secondary endpoint of uptake in HIV testing, differences in characteristics of clients receiving their first HIV test, and repeat testing. Analyses were limited to clients aged 16—32 years. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00203749.
The proportion of clients receiving their first HIV test during the study was higher in CBVCT communities than in SVCT communities in Tanzania (2341 [37%] of 6250 vs 579 [9%] of 6733), Zimbabwe (5437 [51%] of 10 700 vs 602 [5%] of 12 150), and Thailand (7802 [69%] of 11 290 vs 2319 [23%] 10 033). The mean difference in the proportion of clients receiving HIV testing between CBVCT and SVCT communities was 40·2% (95% CI 15·8—64·7; p=0·019) across three community pairs (one per country). HIV prevalence was higher in SVCT communities than in CBVCT communities, but CBVCT detected almost four times more HIV cases than did SVCT across the three study sites (952 vs 264; p=0·003). Repeat HIV testing in CBVCT communities increased in all sites to reach 28% of all those testing for HIV by the end of the intervention period.
CBVCT should be considered as a viable intervention to increase detection of HIV infection, especially in regions with restricted access to clinic-based VCT and support services after testing.
Source: The Lance Infectious Diseases, volume 11, issue 7, pg 525-532 July 2011
This venue-based, cross-sectional study reports on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence and behaviour of 649 men who have sex with men (MSM) in Antwerp and Ghent, Flanders, Belgium, from October 2009 to March 2010. Using time-location sampling, the researchers found that HIV prevalence in MSM who attended different types of venue ranged from a high of 14.5% (95% CI: 8.9–20.1; n=22 in cruising venues to 4.9% (95% CI: 1.9–7.9; n=10) in more general gay venues to 1.4% (95% CI: 0.0–3.6; n=3) at younger MSM venues. Of those who tested HIV positive (n=35, five were unaware of their HIV status or self-reported as being HIV negative. One in five respondents were of non-Belgian nationality. The results showed relatively high rates of testing for HIV (52.2%; 95 % CI: 47.8–56.2; n=288) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (57.4%; 95% CI: 52.6–62.0; n=248) in the last 12 months. A majority of the men (n=233) used condoms consistently during their last anal sexual contact with a casual partner; however, HIV-positive men who were aware of their serostatus (n=30) reported less condom use with casual partners. This is the first such study in Belgium and the results constitute the evidence base for local, targeted interventions. Furthermore, our findings underscore the need for European cross-border cooperation to prevent HIV infection and other STIs among MSM.
Source: Eurosurveillance, wolume 16, issue 28, 14 July 2011