Purpose: Hispanic/Latino adolescents and young adults are disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet little is known about the best strategies to increase HIV testing in this group. Network-based approaches are feasible and acceptable means for screening at-risk adults for HIV infection, but it is unknown whether these approaches are appropriate for at-risk young Hispanics/Latinos. Thus, we compared an alternative venue-based testing (AVT) strategy with a social and sexual network-based interviewing and HIV testing (SSNIT) strategy.
Methods: All participants were Hispanics/Latinos aged 13-24 years with self-reported HIV risk; they were recruited from 11 cities in the United States and Puerto Rico and completed an audio computer-assisted self-interview and underwent HIV screening.
Results: A total of 1,596 participants (94.5% of those approached) were enrolled: 784 (49.1%) through AVT and 812 (50.9%) through SSNIT. HIV infection was identified in three SSNIT (.37%) and four AVT (.51%) participants (p = .7213).
Conclusions: Despite high levels of HIV risk, a low prevalence of HIV infection was identified with no differences by recruitment strategy. We found overwhelming support for the acceptability and feasibility of AVT and SSNIT for engaging and screening at-risk young Hispanics/Latinos. Further research is needed to better understand how to strategically implement such strategies to improve identification of undiagnosed HIV infection.
Keywords: HIV testing/screening; Hispanic/Latino adolescents and young adults; Network-based HIV screening.
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