249498 Engaging “frontline” Substance Abuse Treatment Center staff in integrating Rapid HIV Testing (RHT) into rural non-medical setting in the Mississippi Delta

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kathleen Ragsdale, PhD , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
Angela A. Robertson, PhD , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
Connie Baird-Thomas, PhD , Mississippi Health Policy Research Center, Mississippi State University, Canton, MS
Rebecca Read, MA , Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Jonelle Husain, MA , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
An estimated 25% of HIV-infected persons in the US are unaware of their HIV status, either because they have never been tested for HIV or have not been tested recently. Substance abusers are at higher risk for HIV infection than are non-users. Integrating Rapid HIV testing, referral, and prevention counseling into non-medical settings is a key strategy in HIV prevention, as it is important to identify those recently HIV-infected and link them as early as possible to healthcare and support services. One of the poorest states in the US, Mississippi ranks 14th in the rate of AIDS cases per 100,000 and 8th in rate of HIV infections among teens and young adults. African Americans comprise 72% of the estimated 9,000 Mississippians living with HIV. We report on preliminary results from a study to address the HIV testing and prevention needs of clients in three rural community-based substance abuse treatment centers in the Mississippi Delta. We used a participatory action research (PAR) approach to collaboratively engage and train “frontline” treatment staff to deliver on-site: (1) Rapid HIV testing and, as necessary, treatment referrals; (2) HIV/STI personal and partner risk assessments; (3) HIV/STI transmission and prevention education; and (4) HIV/STI risk reduction counseling to substance abuse treatment clients in non-medical setting – i.e., substance abuse treatment centers in Clarksdale, Greenville, and Greenwood, MS.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify challenges associated with engaging community-based substance abuse treatment staff in integrating Rapid HIV Testing (RHT) into their services. Discuss methods to enhance and/or improve RHT in rural areas and/or non-medical settings.

Keywords: Substance Abuse Treatment, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted international and domestic research related to HIV/STI and alcohol and drug use among minority and vulnerable populations for over 10 years and have produced several publications in these areas.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.