Vancouver Coastal Health has recently released a new Community Engagement Report based on interviews and discussion groups that were conducted this past January and February, looking at how to better coordinate services for HIV testing and treatment. The report summarizes feedback, as well as the recommendations for program improvement based on participants’ suggestions.
As you will see in the report, group participants contributed many insightful observations and recommendations, including:
Public health social marketing to encourage testing: Suggestions to increase uptake of testing included actively countering myths that may hinder testing in specific communities (“It’s inevitable – why bother knowing?”) and instead showing images of strong role models living with HIV and living long, healthy lives.
Rapid HIV test locations: Many people felt that HIV testing should not be provided at community festivals and instead suggested other locations such as health fairs, needle exchanges and community centres, or other locations that are part of people’s ‘normal everyday route’.
Peer Involvement: Opinion differed greatly between various communities about whether peers should provide the Rapid HIV test on their own, but most participants across groups felt that peers providing the test together with a nurse would be acceptable to their community.
Health education information and workshops for newly diagnosed people: Many groups suggested that, upon diagnosis, priority should be placed on connecting the patient with a peer or some form of counseling as soon as possible. Workshops on a range of health self-management topics would also support people’s increased confidence and motivation.
The latest report, and accompanying letter, has been added to the STOP HIV/AIDS – Vancouver Coast Health page on the PAN website, and is available by clicking this link: