Increased rates of rapid point-of-care HIV testing using patient care technicians to perform tests in the ED

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Abstract

Background:

Various emergency department (ED) HIV testing models are reported in the literature but may not all be sustainable. We sought to determine whether changing an ED rapid HIV testing program from counselor-based to ED technician-based resulted in more testing.

Methods:

We evaluated data from an ED rapid HIV testing program. Triage nurses offered testing to patients. In 2009, counselors performed rapid testing weekdays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. In 2010, ED technicians were trained to perform the test and replaced counselors. We compared the numbers of tests performed during the same 6-month periods in 2009 and 2010. Study personnel abstracted results through medical record review.

Results:

A total of 241 oral tests were performed in 2009 compared with 1483 in 2010, representing slightly more than a 6-fold increase. In 2010, there was a steady increase in testing month by month. Incorporating patient volume, testing rates increased from 1.3% to 8.1%. Oral testing yielded no positive test results in 2009, but 7 individuals (0.47%) tested newly positive during the testing period of 2010. Of those with a documented CD4 count within 100 days of the positive result, 4 of 5 had CD4 counts less than 200.

Conclusions:

We present a novel approach to HIV testing using existing staff within the ED. This new ED technician–based model led to large increases in rates of testing.

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