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Scaling up combined community-based HIV prevention interventions targeting truck drivers in Morocco: effectiveness on HIV testing and counseling

Abstract : Background: Truck drivers constitute an important bridging group in the HIV epidemic in Morocco. This study examined the effect of a community-based educational intervention in Morocco on HIV testing and counseling, in representative samples of truck drivers before (2007) and after (2012) the intervention. Methods: Face-to-face structured interviews, adapted from UNAIDS documents, collected data on socio-demographic characteristics, HIV testing and counseling, and HIV risk behaviors in both the 2007 and 2012 surveys. Information about exposure to the intervention was also collected in the latter. Individuals exposed to the intervention were compared with those unexposed (i.e. unexposed in 2012, and all the 2007 pre-intervention sample). Results: The 2012 group included 459 men with a median [IQR] age of 38 [31-44] years, 53% of whom reported exposure to the educational intervention. The percentage of participants tested for HIV and receiving HIV counseling in the last 12 months, was significantly higher in the 2012 group (29.6% vs 4.3% in 2007). Data from the 2012 survey confirmed a significant positive trend between being HIV tested and receiving counseling and the number of times a participant was exposed to the intervention (once: (OR = 5.17(2.38-11.25)), twice or more (OR = 19.16(10.33 - 35.53)). These results were confirmed after adjustment for employment, knowledge that the HIV test results would remain confidential, inconsistent condom use with occasional partners or sex workers, and when including individuals from 2007 considered unexposed. Conclusions: Community-based educational interventions targeting truck drivers can be effective in increasing coverage of HIV testing and counseling, particularly if they are repeated and cover a considerable portion of this at-risk population. These results are encouraging for other countries which urgently need to implement prevention interventions for most-at-risk populations. Furthermore, they clearly show the power of community-based organization interventions in settings where resources for HIV prevention remain limited.
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Hakima Himmich, Lahoucine Ouarsas, Fatima Zahra Hajouji, Caroline Lions, Perrine Roux, et al.. Scaling up combined community-based HIV prevention interventions targeting truck drivers in Morocco: effectiveness on HIV testing and counseling. BMC Infectious Diseases, BioMed Central, 2015, 15 (208), ⟨10.1186/s12879-015-0936-6⟩. ⟨hal-01212469⟩

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