Providing rapid HIV testing
For six months, a 21 year old homosexual male named Juan in El Salvador lived with uncertainty regarding his HIV status. “At health units, the test takes a long time,” he said. To address this, and to get close to high risk populations, Plan, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and local community partners and with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, implemented a mobile unit strategy as part of the larger HIV prevention program. The mobile unit travels throughout the country to specific locations close to where target populations gather habitually providing voluntary, rapid HIV testing. “Thanks to this project, I had a response to the test in 30 minutes.” The unit also offers counseling services, promotes safe sex, provides information on self-care and, when necessary, provides referrals to health centres and other complementary health, social or legal services. As a result, 50 individuals on average are tested daily when the mobile unit is active and many more access the other services available.