Background While Queensland rates of HIV are increasing, regional Queenslanders have reduced access to HIV-related information, rapid testing and clinical services. Men who have sex with men are less likely to access services due to HIV-related stigma and discrimination. The aim of this project was to assess the effectiveness of using a peer-led mobile van for regional service delivery.
Methods Rapid Roadshow was a whole of population awareness-raising initiative of the CHEP program. In November 2014, two vans stopped at predetermined locations between Port Douglas and Gold Coast providing HIV information through discussion, resources, merchandise and quizzes, with rapid HIV and STI testing in some locations. Evaluation forms were provided to all rapid test participants.
Results HIV information was provided via 1696 resources and promotional items, 1094 condom packs and 427 conversations.
Of the 39 rapid HIV tests performed; 89.7% (35) participants identified as male, 61.5% (24) as non-heterosexual and 5 received STI screening.
37 participants completed evaluation forms; 72.9% (27) last tested over 6 months ago and 24.3% (9) had never tested before. 75.7% (28) preferred a non-clinical setting for testing with 81% (30) identifying that they would test more frequently with rapid test availability.
Visits to www.endhiv.org.au increased by 298% (Nov - Jan), compared to the previous quarter (Aug - Oct), with the testing locator and quiz pages increasing by 49% and 138% respectively.
Conclusion We can assume that the increased website visits are attributed to online promotion during Rapid Roadshow.
While the sample size was small, the people tested for HIV identified an increased likelihood for continued testing with increased rapid testing availability outside of a clinical setting.
A more regular presence in regional Queensland will allow us to collect more data and maintain our online presence, while directly supporting regional areas with localised data.
Disclosure of interest statement The CHEP program and all projects of the CHEP program are funded by the HIV Foundation Queensland and hosted by Queensland Positive People. Financial support was provided by Alere for the Rapid Roadshow project.