If you want to improve HIV testing rates in remote rural areas, get the community involved, says UCLA's Thomas Coates, who has directed a new study examining HIV testing programs in communities in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The research, published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, shows that when community mobilization activities and post-test psychosocial support services were added to easily accessible HIV counseling and testing programs, rates of initial and repeat testing in these communities improved significantly, compared with areas that were offered only clinic-based voluntary counseling and testing.
The study presents interim findings from Project Accept, a National Institute of Mental Health–funded effort that has been tracing 10 rural communities in Tanzania, eight in Zimbabwe and 14 in Thailand. Coates, co-director of the UC Global Health Institute and an associate director of the UCLA AIDS Institute, chairs the steering committee overseeing the 10-year project.
"Project Accept is an important demonstration that effective strategies, such as we developed and implemented, can encourage HIV testing and identification of persons with HIV and referral into care," Coates said. "This is an important part of HIV prevention and care."
Complete article at EurekAlert : http://bit.ly/lQXJtt