Background Prompted by an increase in HIV notifications, community support after AIDS 2014 and the success of NSW’s inaugural HIV Testing Week, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) held its first Testing Month in November 2014 to promote initial and ongoing testing for HIV, STI and hepatitis in priority populations.
Methods A stakeholder group collaborated to promote testing via social and mainstream media, offer targeted outreach testing and provide workplace-based GP education focussing on local epidemiology, national testing guidelines and participant perceptions of barriers to testing. Digital and print media was used to promote the Ending HIV campaign, Time to Test and Testing Month. ACT Testing Month was launched at a gay community event on 1 November and ran until World AIDS Day, 1 December 2014.
Results Social marketing focussed on testing with links to testing sites. Local media ran 4 print articles and 4 radio talks. Seventy-two people attended targeted outreach testing: 62 male, 8 female and 2 transgender; 44% were aged 21–30 years, 20% had not tested before and 30% had not tested in the previous 12 months. Thirty-eight doctors and 19 nurses from 5 general practices, a justice health centre and a specialist travel clinic attended 45-minute workplace education sessions.
Conclusion ACT Testing Month enabled collaboration between government and non-government stakeholders in the sexual health sector to promote HIV, STI and hepatitis testing according to national clinical guidelines. Specific outreach testing was geared to particular at risk groups, whilst workplace-based small group GP education aimed to increase knowledge and reduce barriers to ongoing testing within primary care. A Testing Month allows for a range of targeted initiatives but is short enough to maintain momentum. It is a model that translates easily to other smaller jurisdictions and supports relationships between key stakeholders.
Disclosure of interest No commercial contributions were received.
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