A new approach to increase HIV serostatus knowledge in the Basque country, Spain: rapid HIV test provided in pharmacies
D. Zulaica1, A. Arrillaga1, I. Sanz1, C. Menoyo2, M. Martinez3, S. Sanz2, B. Ortega4
1Basque Health Service, San Sebastian, Spain, 2College of Pharmacists of Bizkaia, Bilbao, Spain, 3College of Pharmacists of Alava, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 4College of Pharmacists of Gipuzkoa, Donostia, Spain
Background: In the Basque Country it is estimated that 30% of people infected by HIV do not know their HIV status. To improve the serostatus knowledge of people with high risk factors, the Department of Health and the Colleges of Pharmacists initiated a Rapid HIV Test pilot program in pharmacies.
Methods: 20 pharmacies were selected based mainly in the following criteria: private desk to attend people, motivation and number of pharmacists. Staff was trained on HIV testing procedures and counselling. A referral system was created and a network established to support the pharmacies. The tests were anonymous.
Results: Between March and December 2009, 2.885 tests were performed, twice the expected. Men: 71,9%. Women: 28,1 %. Median age: 36,1 yr; men: 37,2 yr and women 33,4 yr. 7,8% foreigners. Reasons for performing the test: heterosexual penetrative sex (58,6%), oral sex (14,7%) -hetero and homosexual- and anal penetration (6,8%). 13,3% taken by MSM. Reasons to choose a pharmacy: rapidity (49,1%), anonymity (14,4%) and accessibility (10,9%).24 positive tests (19 men and 5 women) and 9 undetermined (thin red line). Prevalence (0,83%) similar to that found in HIV centres. Median age men: 35,8 yr and women 41,6 yr. 7 did not attend the referral centre. Risk practices: unprotected heterosexual sex: 10 (41,6%) and unprotected homosexual sex: 10 (41,6%). Foreigners 7 (29,1%), 5 men and 2 women. 3 subsaharians and 4 latin americans.It was difficult for pharmacists to talk about sexual risk practices with customers and specially to give a positive HIV test. Referral system was efficient (17/24 attended referral services).
Conclusions: The implementation of HIV rapid testing in pharmacies is an excellent, innovative and effective program, well accepted by customers and pharmacists, and complementary to detect new HIV infections in health services.
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