Gay pride events provide opportunities outside of health care settings to identify new HIV cases among men who have sex with men, particularly among MSM in racial and ethnic minorities, according to a study published in the June 22 edition of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 6/21).
For the report, Teri Dowling of the San Francisco Department of Public Health and colleagues between 2004 and 2006 conducted behavioral assessments of MSM and provided access to rapid HIV tests at 11 black and Hispanic gay pride events in Baltimore; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Detroit; Jackson, Miss.; Oakland, Calif.; San Francisco; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C. CDC provided funding to community-based organizations and health departments, as well as on-site technical assistance, help with assessment questionnaires, training for interviewers, and coordination of HIV testing and questionnaire administration.
According to the study, of the 627 male participants who self-identified as being MSM or from a racial or ethnic minority group, 543 reported that they were HIV-negative or did not know their status (Dowling et al., MMWR, 6/22). About 133 people received a test during the events, and 6% tested HIV-positive. Four of the eight HIV-positive participants had received HIV-negative test results during the previous year (Reuters Health, 6/21). All of the HIV-positive cases were later confirmed by Western blot testing, researchers reported. Seven of the HIV-positive men were non-Hispanic blacks.
Researchers also reported data on health care-seeking behaviors from 2005 assessments. Of the 229 participants who reported being HIV-negative or unaware of their HIV status, 23 said they had been referred for HIV testing by a health care provider or outreach worker during the previous year, and 169 had visited a health care provider during the previous year. Seventy respondents said they had been offered an HIV test, researchers reported (Dowling et al., MMWR, 6/22).
According to the study, people found to be HIV-positive at such events can be directly linked to care and prevention services. Researchers also note that 50% of the HIV-positive MSM in the U.S. are black or Hispanic. They add that their study shows the feasibility of national programs to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in HIV prevalence, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 6/21).
The study is available online.
"Rapid HIV Testing in Emergency Departments -- Three U.S. Sites, January 2005 -- March 2006," MMWR: The study summarizes preliminary findings of integrating rapid HIV testing into the health care services routinely provided in three emergency departments in Los Angeles, New York City and Oakland between January 2005 and March 2006. The results show that of the 9,365 people tested, 97 were newly diagnosed with HIV. According to the study, 85 of the newly diagnosed cases were linked to HIV care and treatment after diagnosis. Researchers recommended that EDs integrate rapid HIV testing in their medical services to identify patients who are unaware of their HIV status and to link them to care and prevention services (Telzak et al., MMWR, 6/22).
Kaisernetwork.org on June 26 will host a live webcast of "Ask the Experts" about HIV testing. The panel of experts will address the revised CDC HIV testing recommendations, public education campaigns for testing and data on state testing policies. Submit questions to the panel before or during the discussion: [email protected] The Kaiser Family Foundation also has recently updated an HIV testing fact sheet.