Background: According to the Centers for Disease Control young people ages of 13-29 have the highest amount of new HIV infections (34%). In 2007 the City of
Objectives: 2009 marked the third annual public/private partnership providing free and confidential testing to 15,000 youth and young adults in
Methods: Community organizations, advocacy groups, skilled staff and volunteers, along with support provided through the local health department and other private entities coordinated testing events in high prevalence zip codes throughout the city. One local radio station coordinated performance artists, promotional materials, and venue support for the concert.
Results: From June to July 2009, 14, 471 youth and young adults were screened for HIV; of those 3,466 for syphilis, and 821 for gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Overall positivity rates for HIV were .6%, 7% for syphilis and 20% for GC and Chlamydia.
Conclusions: Easily accessible and incentivized screening options are effective mechanisms for high acceptance rates of public health strategies among youth. Through KAB evaluations that were administered, youth were able to access culturally competent education, testing and medical treatment services in a way that they could understand while expressing that the intervention was a good use of their time.
Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research: This service integration model demonstrates that more opportunities to screen for multiple infections improves medical care and outcomes. Innovative strategies to encourage youth can lead to normalization of screening for HIV and STDs. Structural interventions and prevention projects need to be designed with the consumer in mind.