“Every woman grab a man, come get tested” a strategy to get men tested in an inner-city community in Jamaica
J. Rodgers, K. Lue, P. Brown
Ministry of Health, National HIV/STI Programme, Kingston, Jamaica
Issues: One strategy of the National HIV response in Jamaica where the prevalence is 1.6% is to promote HIV testing. A poor response rate to VCT is typical among Jamaican men within a culture that is accepting of multiple sex partners amongst males. It is common for men to assume that the HIV result of their female partners indicates their own status.
Description: A Community based HIV testing promotion conducted over 5 months resulted in 85% females and 15% males being tested .The “every woman grab a man, come get tested” strategy was conceptualized by the National HIV Prevention Outreach team to get more males to accept VCT. The strategy was piloted in an inner city, low income community with high HIV prevalence. Ten influential community members were trained as Peer Educators. They penetrated the community going beyond high zinc fences and into volatile areas where paid health staff could not. Females reached by these peer educators were required to bring at least one male for testing during a 5 day testing blitz. The female who brought the most men for VCT received a prize. An energy drink was also provided for every man accepting VCT, 74% of persons tested over the 5 days were men.
Lesson learned: Women can motivate men within their sphere of influence to accept VCT. The Ora- Quick test is suitable for Jamaican men who avoid spending time seeking health care. It may be administered along with counselling in informal private settings in a shorter time than other HIV tests.
Recommendations: Trained Peer Educators should be used in innovative ways to make HIV interventions sustainable and increase penetration in hard to reach and volatile communities.
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