Outcomes of Offering Rapid Point-of-Care HIV Testing in A Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic

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Background:Delays in receipt of positive HIV test results and in entry into HIV care are common problems in clinics; in public venues, up to 33% of patients with negative results and 25% of those with positive results never learn their results.Methods:Patients aged 18 years or older at an urban sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic were offered rapid HIV testing between October 1999 and August 2000. Specimens were tested using the rapid Single Use Diagnostic System for HIV-1 (SUDS; Abbott/Murex, Norcross, GA), and results were confirmed by conventional enzyme immunoassay and Western blot (WB) analysis. Trained health educators performed all HIV counseling, phlebotomy, and rapid testing.Results:Of 1977 eligible patients, 1581 (80%) agreed to HIV testing; of these, 1372 (87%) accepted rapid testing and 1357 (99%) received same-visit results and posttest counseling. Thirty-seven (2.7%) were HIV-positive as confirmed by WB analysis. One of these HIV-positive participants died, but the remaining 36 went to their first clinic appointment.Conclusion:Rapid HIV testing was acceptable and feasible in this STD clinic and facilitated entry of newly identified HIV-infected patients into health care.

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