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Usefulness of human immunodeficiency virus post-test counselling by telephone for ... urban sexually transmitted diseases clinic (Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 23,190-197).

Schluter, W., Judson, F., Baro'n, A., McGill, W., Marine, W., & Douglas, J. (1996). Usefulness of human immunodeficiency virus post-test counselling by telephone for low-risk clients of an urban sexually transmitted diseases clinic. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 23, 190-197.

HIV testing and post-test counselling (PTC) are important components in preventing the spread of HIV. Most HIV testing centres and STD clinics conduct PTC sessions in person. Studies have found, however, that 24% to 80% of persons who are tested for HIV do not return for test results and PTC. Return rates are especially low at STD clinics. The Schluter et al. study was designed to evaluate the usefulness of allowing lower risk clients of an urban STD clinic to obtain PTC and HIV test results by telephone as an alternative to returning to the clinic.

The study was conducted at a publicly funded STD clinic centrally located in Denver, Colorado. During a three month evaluation period, 1,304 low risk clients were offered the option to obtain HIV test results and PTC over the telephone. Low risk clients were defined as those who did not indicate that they had had sex with a man who has sex with men, used injection drugs, had sex with an injection drug user, exchanged sex for money or drugs, or had sex with someone who had HIV. The main outcome measured in the study was the percentage of study participants' obtaining HIV PTC within 45 days of HIV testing. A control group of clients who were not offered the telephone option was used for comparison.

Compared to the control group, 35% more of the clients with the telephone option obtained HIV PTC within 45 days (54.0% vs. 40.1%). Of the 704 in the study group who obtained PTC, 71.2% exercised the option to be counselled over the telephone. The largest increases occurred among women, adolescents, whites, clients who had not been to the clinic before, clients from surrounding counties, clients who had been diagnosed as contacts to STD, clients who had received blood products between 1978 and 1985, and clients with multiple recent sex partners. When asked why they chose to obtain PTC by telephone, 81% cited convenience and 6.2% mentioned transportation barriers. Forty-eight clients (9.6%) indicated that if the telephone option had not been not available, they would not have obtained PTC.

In their discussion, the authors state that,

The option of PTC by telephone provided to low risk clients of STD clinics substantially increases overall rates of PTC, with increases up to the level seen in high risk clients, and may be especially useful for those who are otherwise unlikely to obtain PTC (p. 196-197).
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Author:W. Schluter, and others
Publication:The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Date:Jan 1, 1996
Words:446
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