Point-of-care testing (POCT) for HIV/STI targeting MSM in regional Australia at community ‘beat’ locations

Mullens, Amy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0939-9842 and Duyker, Josh and Brownlow, Charlotte and Lemoire, Jime and Daken, Kirstie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3631-600X and Gow, Jeff ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5726-298X (2019) Point-of-care testing (POCT) for HIV/STI targeting MSM in regional Australia at community ‘beat’ locations. BMC Health Services Research, 19 (93). pp. 1-10.

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Background: Innovative health promotion strategies are needed to improve access to HIV testing among regional people in Australia, particularly for men who have sex with men (MSM). This project aimed to establish proof of concept for point-of-care-testing (POCT) via a mobile van clinic at community ‘beat’ locations. Surveys evaluated client satisfaction, characteristics and testing preferences among ‘early adopters’. Sequential mixed-methods approach was used which included secondary qualitative analysis of field notes written by peer-testers (i.e., trained lay providers from the key population being targeted; to extend the contextualise the pilot evaluation), documenting barriers/facilitators and innovations, per action research and to guide recommendations for future health promotion initiatives.

Methods: A POCT ‘proof of concept’ project (2, 3-hourly sessions/week; 20 weeks) was delivered in a regional town by peer-testers using a mobile clinic van, recruited by geosocial ‘apps’ targeting MSM. Clients completed surveys regarding demographics, and testing satisfaction, frequency and preferences. Peer-testers completed detailed field notes for each session including client characteristics and impressions, salient events, concerns and recommendations.

Results: The program resulted in 34 online health promotion conversations with MSM and 34 POCT tests (19 HIV, 15 Syphilis; 18 unique client visits; 17 identified as MSM, with 1 heterosexual female. Rates of satisfaction among early adopters of POCT was high. Analysis of field notes revealed three major themes: 1) Practical challenges; 2) Barriers to engagement; and 3) Recruitment method/project promotion.

Conclusions: Amongst early adopters satisfaction was high, with 47% of clients reported infrequent testing (over 12 months ago) or having ‘never tested’. No tests were reactive. Challenges associated with this health promotion initiative and recommendations for future HIV testing promotion and programs were outlined.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made available in accordance with a Creative Commons Attribution License.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health, Informatics and Economic Research (1 Aug 2018 - 31 Mar 2020)
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2019 06:13
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2022 03:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: Point-of-care testing (POCT); HIV/STI targeting MSM; regional Australia; community ‘beat’ locations
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420603 Health promotion
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-3899-2
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36969

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