Community Preparedness in the Context of HIV Point of Care Testing

Jacqueline Gahagan (PI), Deborah Warren, Shabnam Asghari, John Kim, Frank Atherton, Holly D’Angelo-Scott, Deborah Kelly, Lois Jackson, Zack Marshall, Gina Ogilvie, Brent Oliver, Nitika Pai, Michael Schwandt, Michelle Swab, and Marc Steben

Following the key principles of community-based research (CBR), the aim of this Catalyst Grant is to determine community preparedness for new testing innovations such as HIV point-of-care testing (POCT) in rural areas of Canada, starting with the Atlantic Provinces (PEI, NS, NB, NL). Access to testing and knowing one’s HIV status are important health promotion tools and yet many communities, particularly rural communities, do not have access (Aral & Cates, 2012). Our CBR approach to determining community preparedness will be accomplished through the hosting of a national POCT consensus building workshop in June 2015 (Appendix B) with stakeholders from community, public health, and research sectors with experience and interest in HIV POCT. The findings of our POCT scoping review, which is currently underway, will be used to develop the draft community preparedness themes to be discussed at the CBR POCT consensus workshop.

The overall rationale for this Catalyst Grant is to determine community preparedness for HIV POCT as well as other sexually transmitted and bloode-borne infections (STBBIs), to develop a pilot test a community ownership and preparedness model (Thomas et al., 2012) to be implemented, with particular consideration given to issues of rurality (Hart et al. 2005). Drawing from both the determinants of health (Raphael, 2009) and the social ecological model of preparedness (Latkin & Knowlton, 2005) which take into consideration the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community and broader societal factors in shaping health, this Catalyst Grant will explore the community preparedness for the introduction of POCT for HIV and STBBI testing innovation and models of implementation.

This work will be grounded in both the principles of community-based research and health equity in addressing current gaps in our understanding of the complexity of both testing access and testing uptake issues. Although a variety of conceptual models ranging from cognitive-behavioural to structural in focus can be used to provide a framework for understanding the intersecting influences that can facilitate or prevent the uptake of testing, we believe that a social ecological model offers an important framing to inform intervention development, implementation and evaluation from the individual level through to public policy level (Baral, Logie, Grosso, Wirtz, & Beyrer, 2013; Golden & Earl, 2012).

Funding provided by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Catalyst Grant: HIV / AIDS Community Based Research ($32,860.00) (March 2015-February 2016)