PREVENT-HIV: PeeR-Empowered Voluntary Extended Network Testing for HIV

PREVENT-HIV: PeeR-Empowered Voluntary Extended Network Testing for HIV

Project

Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for 68% of new HIV diagnoses in the Netherlands; about one third is diagnosed in a late disease stage. New methods are needed to reach MSM, in particular MSM from ethnic minority populations, who are more often not HIV-tested or diagnosed in a late stage. We plan to use social networks to find these EM-MSM. High-risk EM-MSM ‘peers' will be enrolled through STI clinics/HIV treatment centres to distribute free oral HIV tests to high-risk EM-MSM in their social networks. Peers will be trained to use an online recruiting program. The project will provide insight whether SNT is effective in reaching high-risk EM-MSM for HIV testing, especially those who are not being reached in other ways.

Project details

Time frame
27 October 2017 - 30 September 2019
Budget
€ 75,000
Active in
Netherlands

Objectives

Peer-driven HIV testing in social networks is a promising strategy to improve HIV testing rates, HIV detection and conversations about HIV among EM-MSM most at risk. If we can recruit (inclusion) and support (e-learning) enough high-risk (HIV/ STI positive) EM-MSM to distribute HIV tests among friends and social contacts at risk, we can increase testing rates and earlier HIV detection among EM-MSM, and learn how SNT is most effective. By starting conversations about STI/HIV knowledge, risk reduction, and (barriers to) HIV testing within these networks, we expect to improve to ‘normalize’ HIV testing, and potentially reduce HIV-related (self-)stigma.

Community groups

Enrolment of 40 EM-peers with a potential reach of 200-250 NAs (also EM-MSM) tested for HIV.

Background

People who are unaware of HIV are more likely to transmit HIV to others and are unable to benefit from HIV treatment. Of all HIV prevention interventions evaluated to date, increased HIV testing combined with early cART has demonstrated by far the most substantial effect on HIV transmission. MSM account for the majority (68%) of new HIV-infections in the Netherlands and about one third of the MSM is still diagnosed late (CD4<350/mm3). This proportion is even higher among MSM who belong to ethnic minority groups (SSA/Caribbean/Antilles: 39%, South-East Asia: 54%) who are less well reached. This needs urgent improvement.

SNT is based on the concept that individuals are linked together to form large social networks with similar characteristics (high-risk behavior, social-cultural aspects). EM-MSM visiting STI clinics have higher rates of HIV (>2.0%) than Dutch-MSM (0.7%), and they are less-well reached by health services. With SNT, we plan to improve HIV detection in EM-MSM populations. We start recruitment at STI clinics, where 30% of all MSM are of non-Dutch ethnicity. These proportions are even higher in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, that both will be included. But also the non-metropolitan 'East' will be included as proportions of undiagnosed MSM are larger there.

Goals

Radical reduction in the Big Six STIs and 0 new HIV infections
100%
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