MSM HIV testing in the rural south: A house party approach
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 8:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Issues: A goal of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is to increase the percentage of people who know their sero-status. Utilizing social networks and alternative testing venues can be effective to increase testing, especially for MSMs. Description: As part of the HRSA-funded NC-LINK project, East Carolina University developed and implemented a protocol for testing combining social network and alternative venue testing strategies at house parties hosted by community members. Three house parties were conducted over six months; a total of 71 individuals attended, 49 tested for HIV (69%). Of those tested, 27% were MSM; however, the percentage of MSMs who tested declined with each house party from 86% to 45% to 9%. One new HIV-positive was found, representing a 2% positivity rate. Participants were asked for their written feedback on the event; the majority reported they felt safe testing at the parties and several stated that they preferred this testing setting to a clinic. Lessons Learned: House parties can offer safe alternative testing environments and provide vehicles for testing higher-risk social networks. Developing connections within the social networks of MSMs in rural communities to plan the parties was challenging for medical clinic staff and ultimately resulted in the abandonment of this approach. Recommendations: The house party approach may be well-suited to rural areas where there are often few testing venues, stigma may be high, and staff are well-connected to the MSM community. Larger studies should assess the efficacy and viability of this approach and develop methods to recruit party hosts.
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research
Identify ways to increase numbers of HIV positive individuals who know their sero-status.
Describe the house party testing approach.
Understand the benefits and challenges in utilizing the house party strategy to engage MSM to test in rural southern communities.
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Linkage Coordinator for ECU and helped run this testing intervention. I have firsthand knowledge of the day to day activities and data presented in this presentation.
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.