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Int J STD AIDS. 2014 Apr;25(5):325-31. doi: 10.1177/0956462413507443. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

Bringing testing to the people - benefits of mobile unit HIV/syphilis testing in Lima, Peru, 2007-2009.

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South American Program in HIV Prevention Research (SAPHIR), University of California at Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Mobile unit (MU) HIV testing is an alternative method of providing healthcare access. We compared demographic and behavioural characteristics, HIV testing history and HIV prevalence between participants seeking testing at a MU vs. fixed clinic (FC) in Lima, Peru. Our analysis included men and transgender women (TW) in Lima aged ≥ 18 years old seeking HIV testing at their first visit to a community-based MU or FC from October 2007 to November 2009. HIV testing history, HIV serostatus and behavioural characteristics were analysed. A large percentage of MU attendees self-identified as transgender (13%) or heterosexual (41%). MU attendees were more likely to engage in transactional sex (24% MU vs. 10% FC, p < 0.001), use alcohol/drugs during their last sexual encounter (24% MU vs. 20% FC, p < 0.01) and/or be a first-time HIV tester (48% MU vs. 41% FC, p < 0.001). MU HIV prevalence was 9% overall and 5% among first-time testers (49% in TW and 11% in men who have sex with men [MSM] first-time testers). MU testing reached large numbers of at-risk (MSM/TW) populations engaged in unsafe sexual behaviours, making MU outreach a worthy complement to FC testing. Investigation into whether MU attendees would otherwise access HIV testing is warranted to determine the impact of MU testing.


AIDS; HIV; HIV prevention techniques; MSM; Peru; alternative HIV testing strategies; diagnosis; men who have sex with men; mobile unit testing; sexually transmitted infection; transgender women

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