Increasing integrated testing in community settings through interventions for change, including the Spring European Testing Week

Nadia Gasbarrini, Davor Dubravić, Lauren Combs, Arian Dišković, Magdalena Ankiersztejn-Bartczak, Francesca Colaiaco, Iwona Wawer, Piotr Wysocki, Magdalena Rosińska, Anna Marzec-Boguslawska, Ben Collins, Daniel Simões, Marie Louise Jakobsen, Dorthe Raben

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Maximising access to testing by targeting more than one infection is effective in identifying new infections in settings or populations. Within the EU funded Joint Action INTEGRATE, this paper examined the feasibility and impact of expanding integrated testing for HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), chlamydia, gonorrhoea and/or syphilis in four community-based pilots through targeted interventions in Croatia, Italy and Poland and the Spring European Testing Week since community settings are key in detecting new infections and reaching key populations.

METHODS: Pilots led by local INTEGRATE partners prioritised testing for other infections or key populations. The Croatian pilot expanded testing for men who have sex with men to syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Italian partners implemented a HIV and HCV testing/information event at a migrant centre. A second Italian pilot tested migrants for HIV and HCV through outreach and a low-threshold service for people who use drugs. Polish partners tested for HIV, HCV and syphilis among people who inject drugs in unstable housing via a mobile van. Pilots monitored the number of individuals tested for each infection and reactive results. The pilot Spring European Testing Week from 18 to 25 May 2018 was an INTEGRATE-driven initiative to create more testing awareness and opportunities throughout Europe.

RESULTS: The Croatian pilot found a high prevalence for each syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea respectively, 2.1%, 12.4% and 6.7%. The Italian migrant centre pilot found low proportions who were previously tested for HIV (24%) or HCV (11%) and the second Italian pilot found an HCV prevalence of 6.2%, with low proportions previously tested for HIV (33%) or HCV (31%). The Polish pilot found rates of being previously tested for HIV, HCV and syphilis at 39%, 37%, and 38%, respectively. Results from the Spring European Testing Week pilot showed it was acceptable with increased integrated testing, from 50% in 2018 to 71% in 2019 in participants.

CONCLUSIONS: Results show that integrated testing is feasible and effective in community settings, in reaching key populations and minimising missed testing opportunities, and the pilots made feasible because of the European collaboration and funding. For sustainability and expansion of integrated community testing across Europe, local government investment in legislation, financial and structural support are crucial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number874
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Volume21
Issue numberSuppl 2
Pages (from-to)874
ISSN1471-2334
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2021

Keywords

  • HIV Infections/diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C/diagnosis
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases/diagnosis
  • Syphilis/diagnosis

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