facilities to the people: HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) in a
J. Carreazo, C. Anton, R. Ayarza, S. Moran, B. Brown
Via Libre, Lima, Peru
Issues: In Peru,
many health care facilities offer HIV testing, but very few people get tested. Socio-cultural
barriers are the main reason for low attendance.
Initiatives to make VCT facilities available to
people outside traditional heath care settings are needed.
Description: Twenty module units were used to provide free VCT
services with rapid HIV tests in a public square in Lima. We utilized television, radio, press
and billboards to promote this activity, and brought in musicians and games to
attract participants. The team consisted of 28 health care providers and 53
We tested 757 people (66.1% men, 33.9% women). Sexual
orientation included: heterosexual (84.8%), homosexual (7.6%) and bisexual (7.6%).
Of all participants, 62.7% had never been tested for HIV, 49.8% didn't know the location of VCT
facilities, and 36.9% engaged in HIV risk activities during the last year but didn't recognize them as such.
Furthermore, 68.4% didn't use a condom during their last sexual intercourse and 12.4%
had unprotected sex with both stable and occasional partner(s) during the last
year. Reported reasons for not using condoms included: trusting their partner
(36.0%), not liking condoms (24.9%), partner objection (18.5%),
non-availability of condoms (8.8%) and alcohol use (4.3%). Overall, 1.1% tested
positive for HIV and received emotional support and health education
Lessons learned: By providing innovative, free and confidential VCT
services in a public square, we reached 475 people who had never received HIV
testing. Using mass media promotion and providing entertainment spaces on site were
key strategies for success of this public health campaign.
Next steps: Local government units should be given assistance to
replicate this HIV testing strategy. Efforts to assess the feasibility of
providing additional rapid STI testing, as part of this model, are needed.
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