An Incentivized HIV Counseling and Testing Program Targeting Hard-to-Reach Unemployed Men in Cape Town, South Africa

The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Institute for Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, and the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (Impact Factor: 4.56). 12/2011; 59(3):e28-34. DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31824445f0
Source: PubMed


In Southern Africa, men access HIV counseling and testing (HCT) services less than women. Innovative strategies are needed to increase uptake of testing among men. This study assessed the effectiveness of incentivized mobile HCT in reaching unemployed men in Cape Town, South Africa.
A retrospective analysis of HCT data collected between August 2008 and August 2010 from adult men accessing clinic-based stationary and non-incentivized and incentivized mobile services. Data from these 3 services were analyzed using descriptive statistics and log-binomial regression models.
A total of 9416 first-time testers were included in the analysis as follows: 708 were clinic based, 4985 were non-incentivized, and 3723 incentivized mobile service testers. A higher HIV prevalence was observed among men accessing incentivized mobile testing [16.6% (617/3723)] compared with those attending non-incentivized mobile [5.5% (277/4985)] and clinic-based services [10.2% (72/708)]. Among men testing at the mobile service, greater proportions of men receiving incentives were self-reported first-time testers (60.1% vs. 42.0%) and had advanced disease (14.9% vs. 7.5%) compared with men testing at non-incentivized mobile services. Furthermore, compared with the non-incentivized mobile service, the incentivized service was associated with a 3-fold greater yield of newly diagnosed HIV infections. This strong association persisted in analyses adjusted for age and first-time versus repeat testing [risk ratio: 2.33 (95% confidence interval: 2.03 to 2.57); P < 0.001].
These findings suggest that incentivized mobile testing services may reach more previously untested men and significantly increase detection of HIV infection in men.

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    • "Given that HIV testing is provided free of charge, but that it is not conveniently located for many refugees, interventions designed to enhance accessibility are likely to yield increased utilization of services. A program that would build on this premise might be one that placed HIV counselors and testers in the waiting areas of health clinics in refugee settlements to offer HIV testing to people while they wait for clinical care, as has been demonstrated to be successful in other low resource settings in sub-Saharan Africa [47]. Though the current goal in many clinics is Provider-Initiated Testing and Counseling (PITC) for everyone seen by the clinician [1,5], the overwhelming number of patients seen daily by health care providers and subsequent time constraints make this impossible. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Recent initiatives by international health and humanitarian aid organizations have focused increased attention on making HIV testing services more widely available to vulnerable populations. To realize potential health benefits from new services, they must be utilized. This research addresses the question of how utilization of testing services might be encouraged and increased for refugees displaced by conflict, to make better use of existing resources. Methods Open-ended interviews were conducted with HIV-infected refugees (N=73) who had tested for HIV and with HIV clinic staff (N=4) in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in southwest Uganda. Interviews focused on accessibility of HIV/AIDS-related testing and care and perspectives on how to improve utilization of testing services. Data collection took place at the Nakivale HIV/AIDS Clinic from March to July of 2011. An inductive approach to data analysis was used to identify factors related to utilization. Results In general, interviewees report focusing daily effort on tasks aimed at meeting survival needs. HIV testing is not prioritized over these responsibilities. Under some circumstances, however, HIV testing occurs. This happens when: (a) circumstances realign to trigger a temporary shift in priorities away from daily survival-related tasks; (b) survival needs are temporarily met; and/or (c) conditions shift to alleviate barriers to HIV testing. Conclusion HIV testing services provided for refugees must be not just available, but also utilized. Understanding what makes HIV testing possible for refugees who have tested can inform interventions to increase testing in this population. Intervening by encouraging priority shifts toward HIV testing, by helping ensure survival needs are met, and by eliminating barriers to testing, may result in refugees making better use of existing testing services.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Conflict and Health
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    • "Previous studies have shown the higher overall testing rates among females in Sub-Saharan Africa. [3], [21], [22], [23] In particular, female youth in Kenya [14] and South Africa [4], [5], [7] have also been reported to have higher HIV testing rates than male youth. The difference in HIV testing by gender is thought to occur because female youth are more likely to be offered testing, [14] in part due to their participation in antenatal programs. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although youth (12-24 years) in Sub-Saharan Africa have a high HIV risk, many have poor access to HIV testing services and are unaware of their status. Our objective was to evaluate the proportion of adolescents (12-17 years) and young adults (18-24 years) who underwent HIV testing and the prevalence among those tested in an urban adult outpatient clinic with a routine HIV testing program in Durban, South Africa. We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of adolescent and young adult outpatient records between February 2008 and December 2009. We determined the number of unique outpatient visitors, HIV tests, and positive rapid tests among those tested. During the study period, 956 adolescents registered in the outpatient clinic, of which 527 (55%) were female. Among adolescents, 260/527 (49%, 95% CI 45-54%) females underwent HIV testing compared to 129/429 (30%, 95% CI 26-35%) males (p<0.01). The HIV prevalence among the 389 (41%, 95% CI 38-44%) adolescents who underwent testing was 16% (95% CI 13-20%) and did not vary by gender (p = 0.99). During this period, there were 2,351 young adult registrations, and of these 1,492 (63%) were female. The proportion consenting for HIV testing was similar among females 980/1,492 (66%, 95% CI 63-68%) and males 543/859 (63%, 95% CI 60-66%, p = 0.25). Among the 1,523 (65%, 95% CI 63-67%) young adults who underwent testing, the HIV prevalence was 22% (95% CI 19-24%) in females versus 14% in males (95% CI 11-17%, p<0.01). Although the HIV prevalence is high among youth participating in an adult outpatient clinic routine HIV program, the uptake of testing is low, especially among 12-17 year old males. There is an urgent need to offer targeted, age-appropriate routine HIV testing to youth presenting to outpatient clinics in epidemic settings.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Insufficient operational research (OR) is generated within programmes and health systems in low- and middle-income countries, partly due to limited capacity and skills to undertake and publish OR in peer-reviewed journals. To address this, a three-module course was piloted by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and Médecins Sans Frontières in 2009–2010, with 12 participants. Five received mentorship and financial support as OR Fellows. Eleven of 12 participants submitted a paper to a peer-reviewed journal within 4 weeks of the end of the course. Evaluation shows that participants continued OR activities beyond the course. During the subsequent year, they submitted and/or published 19 papers, made 10 posters and/or presentations, and many participated in training, mentoring and/or paper reviewing. Some described changes in policy and practice influenced by their research, and changes in their organisation's approach to OR. They provided recommendations for improving and expanding OR. We conclude that participants can, with certain enabling conditions, take research questions through to publication, use skills gained to undertake and promote OR thereafter and contribute to improvement in policy and practice. An internet-based network will provide participants and graduates with a platform for collection of course outcomes and ongoing mentor- and peer-based support, resources and incentives.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012
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