Costs and Effectiveness of Partner Counseling and Referral Services With Rapid Testing for HIV in Colorado and Louisiana, United States


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Abstract

Objective:Health departments offer partner counseling and referral services (PCRS) to HIV-infected index patients and their partners. Point-of-care rapid HIV testing makes it possible for partners of index patients to learn their HIV serostatus in nonclinical settings.Study Design:We assessed costs and effectiveness of PCRS with rapid HIV testing in Colorado and Louisiana (April 2004–January 2006). Colorado provided PCRS to the index patients and partners statewide; Louisiana provided PCRS to those in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The key effectiveness measures were number of partners tested and number of partners informed of a new HIV diagnosis after rapid testing. We obtained program costs for personnel, travel, utilities, supplies, equipment, and facility space.Results:Colorado identified a yearly average of 328 index patients and 253 partners and tested 43 partners. Louisiana identified a yearly average of 81 index patients and 138 partners and tested 83 partners. The rates of previously undiagnosed HIV infection among partners tested were 6.6% in Colorado and 9.9% in Louisiana. The average costs per partner tested and per partner informed of a new HIV diagnosis were $1459 and $22,243 in Colorado and $714 and $7231 in Louisiana.Conclusions:Program costs varied substantially by location. Our analysis helps program managers and health care providers to understand the resources needed for implementing the PCRS in diverse settings.

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