Humana People to People China recently concluded a home-based HIV testing and counseling project in Butuo County, China. The goal was to reach 9,600 people and test 3,500 for HIV. The six-month project—funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and launched in September 2013—surpassed these targets, reaching 10,100 individuals and testing 3,652.
Six field officers were trained by Humana People to People China and the CDC in conducting rapid HIV testing. The field officers went house to house to counsel and test the population. They were assisted by 170 community members, including village heads, doctors, family members, and friends, who volunteered as passionates.
More men than women agreed to be tested by the project for HIV (1,867 men and 1,785 women). Even though the difference in testing across sexes may seem insignificant, the reality is that men in China are particularly reluctant to test. Consequently, the near parity result represents an achievement by the project.
Butuo County is situated in Sichuan Province and is one of the poorer regions of China. Approximately one-third of the population lives below the poverty line (about $0.65 per day). The county has high intravenous drug use and the highest estimated HIV prevalence rate (6-7%) in the country. Education is low and most residents do not speak or read Chinese; they speak one of the languages of the Yi people.
The TCE project established good working relationships with the local hospitals and clinics, which helped to amplify project impact. One official of the Township Hospital said that the project helped overcome inadequate human resources and funding in HIV/AIDS prevention and control. Similarly, an official from the Butuo County Health Bureau said that the project played a significant role in helping effectively control the epidemic.