Rapid testing project
This new tool will allow us to gain access to a section of the public reluctant to use traditional testing centres. This will increase the level of testing and ensure earlier diagnosis, access to information at an earlier stage and provide care upstream too. Just as a reminder, in 2012 55% of sub-Saharan African patients were tested at a late stage and in many cases AIDS had already developed.
For HIV+ people early diagnosis is useful in terms of their health and quality of life (early diagnosis = rapid treatment = medical care before the onset of serious infections). If you know your HIV status, you can also take measures to avoid spreading the condition.
This project looks at local testing, tailor-made to a high-risk, vulnerable section of society, and it complements to existing tools.
The aim is to demonstrate the importance of relocating testing for a section of society with a higher risk of being exposed to HIV/AIDS and other STDs (syphilis and hepatitis C).
We would at the same time be complying with international anti-HIV recommendations, where testing plays a key strategic role. This is also highlighted in the National AIDS Plan.
The section of society we are aiming to cover requires access to care and psychological, medical and social monitoring adapted to their specific difficulties.
Our experience over several years has highlighted the difficulties faced by migrants, poor and unemployed people and drug addicts in particular. Very often health simply isn’t their priority.
Again, if you know your HIV status, you can take measures to avoid spreading the condition.
Testing uses the INSTI rapid testing kit, certified at European level for testing HIV-1 and HIV-2 (and syphilis and/or hepatitis C, depending on the person concerned). Confirmation is then ascertained through a traditional HIV test at a certified centre (AIDS Reference Centre).
The key idea is to then provide regular rapid testing (several times a month) at a location the target public is familiar with (Sireas in Matongé, Modus Fiesta in central Brussels, at other migrant associations or organisations dealing with poor or unemployed people). Legislation in force will be respected with a both a doctor and nurse present. Members of local associations will provide pre-training to deal with counseling, pre-counseling, sexual health, care issues, the specificities of the target audience, professional conduct, ethics and confidentiality. This would be done in partnership with an AIDS Reference Centre.
Associations where testing would take place would also be trained on how to welcome patients.
There will be cooperation between the Centre Elisa and an AIDS Reference Centre to ensure the right training is provided.
Targeted information campaigns will be organised with posters, flyers and ads on the Internet, and the rapid testing facilities will provide the dates and times testing will take place. This will be at times convenient for the public targeted, principally in the evening.