Uptake of Community-Based Peer Administered HIV Point-of-Care Testing: Findings from the PROUD Study
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OBJECTIVES: HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Ottawa is estimated at about 10%. The successful integration of peers into outreach efforts and wider access to HIV point-of-care testing (POCT) create opportunities to explore the role of peers in providing HIV testing. The PROUD study, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), sought to develop a model for community-based peer-administered HIV POCT. METHODS: PROUD draws on community-based participatory research methods to better understand the HIV risk environment of people who use drugs in Ottawa. From March-October 2013, 593 people who reported injecting drugs or smoking crack cocaine were enrolled through street-based recruitment. Trained peer or medical student researchers administered a quantitative survey and offered an HIV POCT (bioLytical INSTI test) to participants who did not self-report as HIV positive. RESULTS: 550 (92.7%) of the 593 participants were offered a POCT, of which 458 (83.3%) consented to testing. Of those participants, 74 (16.2%) had never been tested for HIV. There was no difference in uptake between testing offered by a peer versus a non-peer interviewer (OR = 1.05; 95% CI = 0.67-1.66). Despite testing those at high risk for HIV, only one new reactive test was identified. CONCLUSION: The findings from PROUD demonstrate high uptake of community-based HIV POCT. Peers were able to successfully provide HIV POCT and reach participants who had not previously been tested for HIV. Community-based and peer testing models provide important insights on ways to scale-up HIV prevention and testing among people who use drugs.
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