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AIDS Behav. 2010 Jun;14(3):688-96. doi: 10.1007/s10461-008-9442-9. Epub 2008 Aug 26.

Rapid vs. standard HIV testing in bathhouses: what is gained and lost?

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Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Previous research demonstrates that standard voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) in bathhouses is feasible, and is an effective means for identifying new HIV cases and producing short term change in risk and precautionary behaviors. Less is known about whether the promise shown in standard VCT will be maintained as rapid testing is disseminated into outreach settings such as bathhouses. This study aimed to compare the risk and demographic profiles of men presenting for rapid vs. standard VCT in a bathhouse setting, and to explore the effectiveness of rapid VCT in identifying new infections and changing risk and precautionary behaviors. Bathhouse-based VCT was conducted over the course of two years--in the first year, 492 men participated in standard testing, and in the following year 528 men from the same venue participated in rapid testing. Similar percentages of men were found to be positive using rapid and standard testing (2.5% and 3.7%, respectively), although rapid testing delivered results to more individuals than standard testing (97% vs. 71%). Convenience samples of 133 of the standard testers and 161 of the rapid testers were obtained and assessed at two points: immediately prior to and 3 months after testing. The risk and demographic profiles of men participating in standard vs. rapid testing were similar, suggesting that rapid testing is as feasible an approach as standard testing for attracting men with recent histories of HIV-related risk behavior. In the 3 months following rapid VCT, some risk and precautionary behaviors were changed compared to pre-VCT, but effects were smaller than in the previous study of standard VCT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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