Open Access Research article

Preferred HIV testing services and programme characteristics among clients of a rapid HIV testing programme

Juan Hoyos12, María José Belza23*, Sonia Fernández-Balbuena1, María Elena Rosales-Statkus4, José Pulido12, Luis de la Fuente12 and the Madrid Rapid HIV testing Group

Author Affiliations

1 Carlos III Health Institute, National Epidemiology Centre, C/ Monforte de Lemos, nº5, 28029 Madrid, Spain

2 CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), C/Monforte de Lemos, nº 35, 28029 Madrid, Spain

3 Carlos III Health Institute, National School of Health, C/Sinesio Delgado, nº8, 28029 Madrid, Spain

4 Service of Preventive Medicine. Hospital Central de la Cruz Roja San José y Santa Adela, Madrid, Spain

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:791  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-791

Published: 30 August 2013



In the current context of diversity and coexistence of HIV testing approaches, limited information exists on test recipient’s views of HIV testing services and programme attributes that could ease the testing process and make it more appealing for at risk individuals who don’t know their HIV status. This study analyzed ratings given to different testing sites and programme characteristics that might facilitate testing.


We analyzed data from 3120 persons attending a mobile HIV testing programme located on a central street in the gay district of Madrid.


64% were men (of which, 55% had had sex with other men), 59.5% were <30 years, 35.4% foreigners, 50.6% had a university degree,71.7% a regular employment, 59.3% reported multiple partners and inconsistent condom use and 56.5% had been tested for HIV. Non Governmental Organizations and specific HIV/STI centres received the maximum rating from over 60% of participants, followed by self-testing (38.9%). Pharmacies (20.8%) and hospital emergency departments (14.2%) were the worst valued testing sites. Over 80% gave the highest rating to having immediate test results, not needing a previous appointment, and free testing, while less than 50% gave the maximum rating to privacy and anonymity.


HIV testing services that don’t require an appointment, based on free tests with rapid results are most valued by a young, not socially marginalized but high risk sexual exposure population. On the contrary, issues traditionally highly valued by health care providers or AIDS social organizations (privacy and anonymity) are much less valued.

HIV testing; Preferences; Testing services