42- Oslo homosexuals take to test program Oslo project a success

The project aimed to overcome the reluctance for gay men to go to a physician and test themselves for HIV and other venereal diseases after homosexual sex. The project claims success in reversing this trend, and the Oslo concept was discussed during the major AIDS conference in Toronto, where Crown Princess Mette-Marit was one of the VIP speakers.
The Brynseng project in Oslo began in the autumn of 2004. By offering a free service, open in the evening with no appointment necessary, the ease of use made the testing far more attractive and 486 patients had taken advantage of the facility by February of this year.
“In 2005 we found nine percent of the total of 56 new HIV cases among homosexual men nationwide. This is a very high figure for such a small operation like us,” said Thomas Tønseth, a general practitioner and one of the doctors behind the project.
The Directorate for Health and Social Affairs published the latest figures for HIV infection in 2005 on Monday. A total of 219 new cases were discovered, 122 men and 97 women, compared to a total of 251 for 2004.
“Research reveals that men who have sex with other men, for various reason do not visit their regular doctor to get test or find it difficult to discuss their sexual preference and practice. We have patients from around the country that would rather use some extra money on a plane ticket to us in Oslo than visit their family doctor,” Tønseth said.
The Directorate started up the Brynseng Project in response to the start of rising HIV cases among gay men in 2002.
“The project is extremely important and successful. In 2005 we see a decrease in the number of new HIV cases among men who have sex with men, but we donʼt know if the trend will continue. The positive numbers do not mean we can rest,” said Hedda Bie, adviser at the Directorate.