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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

REID, Sandra D.; NIELSEN, Anders L.  and  REDDOCK, Rhoda. Changes in HIV needs identified by the National AIDS Hotline of Trinidad and Tobago. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.27, n.2, pp. 93-102. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892010000200002.

OBJECTIVES: To examine utilization of the National AIDS Hotline of Trinidad and Tobago (AIDSLINE), evaluate its validity as a reliable data source for monitoring national HIV-related needs, and identify changes in caller requests between two different time periods. METHODS: A total of 7 046 anonymous hotline calls in 1998-2002 (T1) and 2 338 calls in 2007 (T2) were analyzed for associations between caller characteristics and call content. A subsample of the data was also analyzed qualitatively. T1 findings were compared with HIV-related data collected by national policy-makers during that period, to evaluate the hotline's validity as a data source, and findings from T2, to reveal changes in call content over time. RESULTS: In T1, the hotline was well utilized for information and counseling by both the general population and those living with HIV/AIDS. Call content from T2 indicated an increase versus T1 in 1) general awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; 2) HIV testing; and 3) knowledge of HIV symptoms and transmission. HIV-related mental health needs, and the relationship between HIV and both child sexual abuse (CSA) and intimate partner violence (IPV), were identified as emerging issues. CONCLUSIONS: AIDSLINE is a well-utilized tool for providing information and counseling on national HIV-related issues, and a valid, cost-effective, easily accessed information source for planners and policy-makers involved in HIV management. Over the two study periods, there was an increase in HIV awareness and testing and in requests related to mental health, CSA, and IPV, but no change in sexual behaviors.

Keywords : HIV; sexually transmitted diseases; monitoring; hotlines; Trinidad and Tobago.

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