Guest blog post written by Nick Cannell of Pwojè SIDA at Konbit Mizik
It is with great pride, pleasure, and gratitude that I share with you pictures and statistics from our Pwojè SIDA HIV testing event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on August 27th, 2016.
Under the supervision of our clinical partners Foundation Esther Boucicault Stanislas (FEBS) and Health Education Action League (HEAL Haiti), we provided rapid oral HIV testing to a total of 640 people and linked 25 reactive individuals for follow up testing and care at the nearest Gheskio Centre, FOSREF Clinic, or the General Hospital in accordance with Haiti Ministry of Health Protocols. Additionally we are actively reaching out to those individuals who provided us with working phone numbers to make sure they seek follow-up care.
We are proud and honored to have served 640 Haitians, distributed 5,000 ONE® Condoms to the community, and donated the remaining unused rapid HIV tests to FEBS for use before they expire. We estimate that we had over 1 million media impressions in Haiti between TV/radio/social media (watch) and we are currently compiling and editing footage of the event for a short documentary film in English and Kreyol, which will include HIV facts and resource information for the Haitian general population.
Major statistical takeaways:
- A much higher prevalence rate than we expected—3.9% vs. 2%. (from 133 surveys completed).
- 64% of respondents were male.
- 55% of respondents had previously taken an HIV test.
- Over 50% of respondents have completed high school or university.
- Over 74% of respondents have "little or no fear" of HIV/AIDS .
We will continue to analyze the data and look for correlations within this sample population between age, educational level, previous HIV test, and other variables on which we have data.
Further, I’d like to say that our inclinations proved correct that, if we’re serious about beating AIDS in Haiti and around the world by eliminating new infections and connecting people to ART meds, we must build on this model of bringing testing to the street level, deep in the hearts of the communities where people live, breaking down fear and stigma and hyping up testing with celebrity star power. It was clear to me and others that there is a figurative "grand canyon" between where an individual lives and the nearest HIV clinic, even if it’s not far away. A lot of work around must be done around volunteer testing, and Pwojè SIDA was a great first step.
So, in conclusion, on behalf of Konbit Mizik, our community partners and sponsors, volunteers and friends, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. Pwojè SIDA was, and is possible, because of you all.