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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Access to rapid HIV testing in Honduras

Eugene C. Schiff, Fulbright Fellow in Honduras, 2516 N. Seminary, Chicago, IL 60614, 773-549-2985, eugene.schiff@fulbrightweb.org

Issues: With an estimated 1-2% HIV prevalence, Honduras has moved towards the category of a generalized HIV/AIDS epidemic. Despite considerable resources and alarm about the AIDS epidemic, widespread access to HIV testing, particularly rapid testing, has been slow in coming, inhibiting treatment and prevention efforts.

Description: The study includes 10 months of research regarding access to rapid HIV testing in Honduras, from 9/2003-6/04. Hospitals, health clinics, prisons, and diverse communities were visited. Special attention was paid to rapid and standard HIV testing availability, potential benefits and need for improved testing access, and health workers and community membersí awareness of and interest in using rapid HIV tests.

Lessoned Learned: Rapid testing is a proven effective tool to quickly, cheaply and accurately detect new cases of HIV. Counselling, treatment, and prevention of mother to child transmission are concomitant benefits that must be associated with rapid testing. Proclaimed budget cuts, expiration of test kits, lack of trained personnel, poor planning and coordination, and insufficient pilot projects have led to shortages or complete absence of rapid HIV tests in areas in Honduras where these are potentially most valuable. The majority of people living with HIV/AIDS, health care workers, community leaders, and concerned citizens expressed strong interest in rapid HIV testing.

Recommendations: Rapid HIV testing must be made available in rural, indigenous, and Garifuna communities, as well as offered to most pregnant women in Honduras. Nurses and community leaders represent willing participants in helping expand these services, and should be sought out as partners.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Latin American, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Access to HIV/AIDS Testing, Treatment, and Health Care Services

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA