HIV Testing Behaviours in Nova Scotia

Implications for Best Practices

Investigators: J. Gahagan (Principal), L. Baxter, T. Hachette, and V. Delpech.

The primary purpose of this study was to examine HIV testing rates and behaviours in Nova Scotia, including who is and is not accessing HIV testing in the province and why or why not, with the aim of offering evidence-based recommendations for HIV counseling and testing approaches in Nova Scotia. Community consultations were held with the research team and members of various government, health, and community-based organizations.

First, provincial policies and research related to HIV counseling and testing services were examined. Next, anonymized HIV testing data were gathered from Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion & Protection, Capital Health Laboratory and the Halifax-based anonymous HIV testing site. Finally, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of both rural and urban individuals who had or had not been tested for HIV in Nova Scotia in the past 12 months (at the time of interview). The findings from this study can be used to help inform provincial HIV counseling and testing policies and also programmatic responses to identified Gaps in the current provision of HIV counseling and testing services, programs, and information strategies. The final aspect of this study involved knowledge translation of the findings of the data to our key partners and stakeholders.

Funded by the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS for $34,000 (2009-2010).