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Increasing HIV testing among hard-to-reach groups: examination of RAPID, a community-based testing service in Queensland, Australia.

Increasing HIV testing among hard-to-reach groups: examination of RAPID, a community-based testing service in Queensland, Australia.
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Mutch AJ, Lui CW, Dean J, Mao L, Lemoire J, Debattista J, Howard C, Whittaker A, Fitzgerald L,


Mutch AJ, Lui CW, Dean J, Mao L, Lemoire J, Debattista J, Howard C, Whittaker A, Fitzgerald L, (click to view)

Mutch AJ, Lui CW, Dean J, Mao L, Lemoire J, Debattista J, Howard C, Whittaker A, Fitzgerald L,

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BMC health services research 2017 04 2817(1) 310 doi 10.1186/s12913-017-2249-5

Abstract
BACKGROUND
The success of ‘treatment as prevention’ (TasP) to control HIV relies on the uptake of testing across priority population groups. Innovative strategies including; rapid HIV testing (RHT) in community and outreach settings, engaging peer service providers, and not requiring disclosure of sexual history have been designed to increase access. This paper reports on the implementation of ‘RAPID’, a community-based testing program in Queensland, Australia that employs these strategies to increase access to testing.

METHODS
Service data, including client registration forms and a satisfaction survey from all clients attending RAPID between August 2014 and July 2015 were analysed.

RESULTS
In 2014/2015 1,199 people attended RAPID to receive a free HIV test. The majority were urban-based gay men. 17.1% were first-time testers and 20.1% of participants were not eligible to access Medicare, Australia’s universal health care scheme.

CONCLUSIONS
RAPID’s evidence-based strategies appear to facilitate access to HIV testing, particularly among those who have never tested before; however the implications for the ongoing treatment and care of people ineligible for Medicare, who test positive to HIV warrants careful consideration.

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