XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Assessing the impact of outreach VCT on HIV risk behaviours: a four-month follow-up study

S. Jarrett, J. Duncan, L. Byfield, K. Harvey

Ministry of Health, National HIV/STI Programme, Kingston, Jamaica

Background: Jamaica has an estimated HIV prevalence of 1.6% in the general population, 4% among SWs, 32% among MSM, and 3.6% in STI clinic populations. Approximately 50% of persons living with HIV in Jamaica are unaware of their status. Outreach voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV is a strategy for case detection and prevention messages. A study was conducted to determine:1. The impact of VCT on risk behaviours2. The relationship between intentions and future behaviours.
Methods: 1,610 persons receiving VCT at World AIDS Day events in 2008, completed a survey. Of this sample, 500 persons were randomly selected for follow-up at 4 months and 372 persons (258 Females, 114 Males) responded.
Results: Respondents at baseline and 4 months did not differ on key demographic variables. Average age was 30.85 (SD=10.30), 79% had a main partner at both interviews. Men reported more partners than women at both interviews and more new partners at follow-up. At 4 months, 34% of men with a main partner had 2-6 partners and 16% of women had 2-5 partners. Among 18 respondents (12 women, 6 men) who contracted a new STI, 16 respondents (12 women, 4 men) had a regular partner, and 10 had no history of STIs. 62.5% women and 55.6% men, who said they would reduce their number of sex partners, did so, and of those that said they would abstain, 50% of women and 30% of men abstained from intercourse. Despite intentions of 100% condom use, many did not use a condom at last sex with an outside partner (25% men, 28% women) or main partner (43.5% men, 46.8% women).
Conclusions: Multiple partnerships drive the HIV epidemic in Jamaica and persist despite exposure to VCT. VCT must use a deeper understanding of high risk behaviours to promote safer sex behaviours, despite relationship status or risk history.

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