A community based centre for HIV detection in Barcelona shows that most cases detected in MSM are early stage HIV infections

Published: August 31, 2010

A community based centre for HIV detection in Barcelona shows that most cases detected in MSM are early stage HIV infections

M. Meulbroek, F. Pujol, J. Saz, H. Taboada, J. Montilla, E. Ditzel, U. Pérez, C. Cruz

Projecte dels NOMS-Hispanosida, Barcelona, Spain

Issues: Studies show that individuals who know they are infected take steps to protect their partners. Yet many MSM are unaware of their status and may unknowingly be transmitting the virus to others. It´s estimated that as many as 50% of HIV transmissions occur during the acute and early stage of the infection.

Description: In 2006 our organization implemented BCN Checkpoint, an HIV detection CBC for MSM in the gay area of Barcelona. During the three years of experience (2007-2009) we performed 4.866 HIV tests to 4.316 different persons and found 222 positive results (prevalence: 5,1%). We analyzed the results of 2009 where we tested 2.216 persons and found 113 positive results: 17 persons (15%) had never don an HIV test before; 95 persons (84%) had done 1 or more HIV tests before with negative result (average times: 6.2; range: 1-30); 1 person (1%) didn´t answer. The answers to when the last negative test was performed were:

2007 or before   
29    30,5%
2008   
40    42,1%
2009   
24    25,3%
Don´t recall   
2    2,1%
Total    95    100%

[Year of last negative HIV test]

This shows that in our centre of all HIV cases detected at least 64 of the 113 persons (56,6%) had an early stage of the infection.

Lessons learned: A CBC is not only able to reach Most-At-Risk Populations, in this case MSM, but is also able to detect acute and early stage HIV infections, which will avoid new infections. In this context Counseling & Testing in CBC´s should be part of national prevention policy.

Next steps: To strengthen our services to the MSM community and to start a prevalence study of asymptomatic STI´s in HIV- MSM.

See the poster here
(pdf)

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