Those people who are most at risk of late diagnosis are those who are least likely to be reached by traditional testing programmes (older, heterosexual) especially when living in low prevalence areas. Therefore the AHF opened a community-based HIV testing centre in middle of Amsterdam to offer free, anonymous, rapid HIV testing and counselling services to all who want it. Tests are performed by certified HIV testing counsellors, using the most advanced testing technologies. As part of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s innovative alternative-site testing initiative — the team in the Netherlands also tests on location in a mobile testing van at various locations throughout the Netherlands and Belgium.
The majority of registered and monitored adults living with HIV in the Netherlands are male (80%). Amongst men, homosexual contact was by far the greatest risk factor (72%), whereas heterosexual transmission was the greatest risk factor (88%) amongst women [HIV Monitoring Report 2012,1].
Despite improved testing in The Netherlands over the last two decades, even today 43% of infected individuals are diagnosed late in the course of their infection [HIV Monitoring Report 2012]. As such many people in the Netherlands are unaware that they are living with HIV, this has serious implications for both the individual and public health as it can increase the risk that HIV will be transmitted.