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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Archival Content: 1999-2005

Training Doing the Work

HIV Rapid Testing: Detroit Community-Based Participatory Research

Community Health Awareness Group (CHAG) and Wayne State University (WSU) Department of Community Medicine

Community Health Awareness Group (CHAG), the largest minority HIV/AIDS service organization in Michigan, began providing HIV Rapid Testing (HRT) in outreach settings in March of 2002. In three years over 3,000 individuals have been tested with 49 confirmed positives. Of HRT newly positive individuals, about one-third had previously been tested. The number of new-session or Conventional HIV Tests (CHTs) for the same period is about half the HRT and reflects a pattern of transition from CHT to HRT. This pace has accelerated to the point where CHTs are currently routinely given only for confirmatory reasons or at the request of a client.

Community HRT is currently offered to youth through seniors, men, women and transgenders from 6:30 am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday, at thirty sites. The weekly schedule includes 13 substance abuse treatment centers (detox, pretreatment, outpatient and residential); 7 street corners/parks that are home to high volume traffic of individuals at high risk for HIV/STD/HepC; 4 homeless shelters/food kitchens; 3 primary care sites for uninsured persons; 2 specialized drop-in centers, including the Detroit Veteran's Center; and a legal justice facility, the downtown district court, which is in the center of the sex worker trade.

Community-Based Participatory Research is the foundation of the relationship between CHAG and the WSU Department of Community Medicine (CM). Development of research and evaluation protocol, assessment of program implementation, staff training, and strategic planning have been aided by CHAG's long term partnership with WSU. Through their partnership, CHAG and WSU have successfully adapted CDC's Project RESPECT/RESPECT2 protocols to HIV prevention outreach and HRT, promoting expansion of mobile testing to at-risk populations such as injection drug users, homeless persons and sex workers. The research relationship has had unanticipated benefits. For example, clients in a risk reduction study* were randomized to either CHT or HRT. Participation in research challenged CHAG program staff to explain to clients similarities and differences between the two tests, simultaneous facilitation of both types of tests, and strategies for delivery of test results.

Presented by: Harry L. Simpson, CHAG Director of Substance Abuse Services; Cindy Bolden Calhoun, CHAG Executive Director; Julie Gleason-Comstock, PhD, CHES, Assistant Professor, WSU CM

Research Partners: Harry L. Simpson and Cindy Bolden Calhoun, CHAG; Julie Gleason-Comstock PhD, CHES, Alicia Streater, PhD, Rosalind Rolack and Silas Norman, Jr., MD, WSU

*Funding for the research study was provided by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Michigan. CHT and HRT program and evaluation funds were provided by the Michigan Department of Community Health and DHHS Centers for Disease Control


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