Willingness of Australian health educators and health promotion officers to conduct rapid HIV testing
Originally Published In
Health Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue addressed: Rapid HIV tests were recently approved by the Australian government. This paper examines the attitudes and willingness to conduct rapid HIV testing (RHT) of Australian health educators and health promotion officers (HE/HPO) from various settings and disciplines.Methods: The aim of the Promoting Research on Methods in Screening Expertise study was to explore knowledge of HIV, attitudes towards people living with HIV, and willingness to conduct RHT among HE/HPO in Australia; this information was attained via an online survey of HE/HPO. Descriptive statistics, χ2 tests, t-tests, and multivariate logistic regression were then conducted.Results: Data from 156 HE/HPOs were analysed. Overall, 60% of participants believed that HE/HPO should offer RHT. Additionally, 70% were personally willing to undergo training in conducting RHT. Fifty-nine percent of participants scored as having 'high' HIV knowledge (at least 12 out of 13 correct answers), with 32% answering all questions correctly. Knowledge was strongly associated with willingness to be trained to conduct RHT.Conclusions: HE/HPO with advanced training in developing evidence-based approaches to improve the health and wellbeing of marginalised and disadvantaged groups may be an appropriate workforce to train to conduct RHT and counselling.So what?: As government agencies and community-based organisations plan to expand RHT, HE/HPO, including those who work outside of sexual health, should be considered as a viable workforce to upskill.