Results of a community HIV testing pilot (fasTest) targeting men who have sex with men (MSM) in Brighton are reported and service users are compared with those testing in genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics. FasTest offers rapid HIV testing in a weekly evening drop-in session staffed by GUM professionals in a community organisation. It was prospectively evaluated from November 2004 to March 2006 using a self-completed paper questionnaire assessing demographics, previous use of GUM, HIV testing history and sexual behaviour. Follow-up through GUM/HIV services was monitored. A simplified questionnaire was completed by MSM accessing the GUM clinic over the same time period. Men were included in the analysis if they identified as gay or bisexual or had recent sex with a man, tested for HIV and received a result. In both the fastest and GUM groups, men reported high rates of unprotected anal sex in the last 3 months. fasTest clients were significantly younger and less likely to test positive for HIV. This difference was independent of age and HIV testing history. There was no difference in rates of recent infection between the two. We conclude that community HIV testing is feasible and reaches the target group of high risk MSM.
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Funding: The fasTest pilots and their evaluation were funded by the Department of Health.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained from the West Midlands Multicentre Research Ethics Committee and the Brighton and Mid Sussex Local Research Ethics Committee.
Contributors: AB contributed to the Brighton fasTest planning group and wrote the first and subsequent drafts of the manuscript. JR staffed the Brighton fasTest project, contributed to initial and subsequent drafts. PW designed and managed the England-wide fasTest evaluation, developed the idea for the comparative work, participated in the Brighton fasTest planning group, performed data analysis and advised on the manuscript. FH developed the fasTest questionnaire, performed data analysis and advised on the manuscript. DR contributed to data analysis and advised on the manuscript. MF contributed to the Brighton fasTest planning group and advised on the manuscript. GD led on the fasTest project from the GUM side, developed the idea for the comparative work and advised on the manuscript.