Sigma Research

Evaluation of fasTest HIV testing in the community pilots

Duration: September 2004 - September 2006

This evaluation concerned seven community rapid HIV testing pilot interventions separately funded by the Department of Health (four sites) and gsk (three sites) and delivered by Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) with collaborators in local genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics. We use the fasTest brand name to refer to the intervention. This research was funded by Department of Health and Terrence Higgins Trust (on behalf of gsk sites).

The intervention was exploratory and continued to develop throughout the pilot evaluation period. At the time of the evaluation THT described their aims in delivering this intervention as:

  • to reduce levels of undiagnosed HIV,
  • to provide greater access and choice for individuals,
  • to provide results at point of testing,
  • to establish a fast-tracking procedure into treatment & care for those testing positive.

The fasTest service was also assumed to increase HIV testing capacity in localities where it was delivered.

Our aims for the evaluation were to:

  • describe the entire population who tested at each site, including demographic profiles, sexual history and sexual health needs.
  • Identify how the population who tested at each site might vary from attendees of other clinical sexual health services. The key aim was to assess whether (and why) target groups were more likely to access services based in community settings compared to other settings.
  • Evaluate the acceptability of the interventions to gay men and African communities (from surveys and interviews).
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions in screening an at-risk population including their capacity to identify new cases of HIV.

The evaluation was written-up in two seperate reports based on the funding of the pilots and their evaluation. The reports describe the data collected using three methods: monitoring of service provision and follow-up through standard HIV care services; our 4 page questionnaire completed by fasTest users; and follow-up telephone interviews with those tested positive. Both final reports include summary evaluation conclusions.

Report one was called Evaluation of the Department of Health funded fasTest HIV testing in the community pilot.

Report two was called Evaluation of the gsk funded fasTest HIV testing in the community pilot.

Key contact: Peter Weatherburn

A description of the fasTest service is available at: Terrence Higgins Trust