Assessing Community-Based AIDS Helpline Service Provision in Alaska
AIDS helplines provide an important public health service in disseminating information on HIV/AIDS, sexual risk behaviors, testing information, and situations that do not confer the risk of HIV acquisition. The Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (AAAA) maintained a telephone helpline for the state of Alaska. This paper evaluated data collection efforts at this community-based organization. Data concerning the demographics of callers and topics and patterns of helpline utilization for the years 1991, 1992, 1995, and 1996 were investigated. Differences were found in topics of inquiry with respect to caller gender and time of day in which the call was logged, using correspondence analysis. Men were more likely to request information on HIV testing and safe-sex practices. Women were more likely to request information on other topics such as household transmission of HIV and information on transmission of HIV to children in settings such as childcare centers and schools. Knowledge of caller demographics and concerns has been used by AAAA to improve helpline services and volunteer training. Revelations concerning missing data have resulted in changes to data collection procedures.
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