Implementing innovative strategies to increase HIV testing and treatment among Peruvian MSM
Issues: Although Peru has a concentrated HIV epidemic among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), it is estimated that less than 10% of this population have access to HIV prevention services. Additionally, less than 43% MSM have been tested for HIV, and many of those who do test positive are not enrolled in the health care system that provides free Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) in Peru.
Description: To increase the number of MSM tested for HIV and to effectively enroll participants who test positive into the health-care system, Via Libre, a non-governmental organization located in Lima-Peru, with the support of HIVOS and the European Union, developed the following activities:
1) Offered free rapid HIV testing: (i) in 2 mobile units placed at venues frequented by MSM, (ii) in gay chatrooms and through online gay radio programs (iii) through posters and other prevention materials and (iv) through referral of gay friends and partners tested by the project.
2) Secured the enrollment of those who tested positive by identifying and resolving individually the barriers to access to free HAART.
Lessons learned: Interventions through the Internet and mobile units reached an important number of participants not previously tested for HIV. Even though HAART is free in Peru, a significant number of participants who tested positive in our intervention would not be enrolled into the health-care system if cultural barriers, social barriers and fears had not been addressed individually with the participants.
Next steps: Transfer this model to the public health-care system and assist twelve public health-care establishments on the implementation of models to improve quality of care to MSM.
-Abstract available at link below-