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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Promoting HIV testing in rural communities with low HIV prevalence: The experience of Burkina Faso

Jean Baptiste Koama, MD MPH1, Rheal Drisdelle1, Luis Tam, MD DrPH2, and Issaka Congo1. (1) Plan Burkina Faso, Secteur 15, Patte d'Oie, Rue 15-117, Porte 168, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 703-807-1264, congo.issaka@plan-international.org, (2) Plan USA, 1730 N Lynn St Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22209

BACKGROUND: Initially, most centres for voluntary counselling and HIV testing (VCT) in Burkina Faso were confined to urban areas. The rural population had limited access to VCT. In 2003, Plan Burkina Faso (PBF), an international, humanitarian NGO, started to support VCT centres in rural areas, where adult HIV prevalence ranges between 0.8 and 3.7 %. AIDS is barely visible in these communities, and denial is a major obstacle to uptake of VCT. DESCRIPTION OF RURAL VCT PROGRAM: PBF conducted baseline studies of beliefs and attitudes about AIDS and VCT before initiating the services. Thereafter, PBF supported the establishment of VCT centres in rural health facilities, and of mobile testing clinics to cover communities without health facilities. Thirteen VCT centres were established. Simultaneouly, the attendance to VCT services was promoted through a campaign of public mobilisation and awareness raising. RESULTS: (1) Uptake increased rapidly from 1,120 tests in 2003 to 5,500 in the first six months of 2005. (2) However, continued and intensive social mobilisation, especially in communities with low HIV prevalence, was necessary to continue the growth in demand. (3) Moreover, VCT services were better used if supported by a partnership of public services and local associations, including self help groups of people living with HIV. However, these self-help groups are often not very viable in rural communities with low HIV prevalence. (4)Despite, VCT clients had to pay a very small amount of money for the service, it proved to be a deterrent among women and young people who have little disposable cash. CONCLUSIONS: Based on these initial results, PBF and its partners designed the VCT program to make it more user-friendly. These changes and their results will be discussed by the author during his presentation.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Counseling, HIV Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Topics in HIV/AIDS II

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA