High Accuracy of Home-Based Community Rapid HIV Testing in Rural Malawi


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Abstract

Objective:To assess the performance of rapid HIV antibody tests when used as part of a home-based community wide counseling and testing strategy in northern Malawi.Design:A cross-sectional population survey of HIV infection, 2007 to 2008.Methods:Adults aged 15 years or older in a demographic surveillance area were counseled and then offered an HIV test at their home by government-certified counselors. Two initial rapid tests (Determine and Uni-Gold) were performed on all samples and a third, tie-breaker test (SD Bioline) used to resolve discordant results. All people who wanted to know were posttest-counseled and informed of their results with referral to local clinical services if found to be HIV-positive. Laboratory quality control comprised retesting all positive and every tenth negative venous blood sample collected.Results:A total of 10,819 adults provided venous blood samples for HIV testing, of whom 7.5% (813) were HIV-positive. The accuracy of the parallel testing strategy used was high with 99.6% sensitivity, 100.0% specificity, 99.9% positive predictive value, and 99.9% negative predictive value.Conclusion:Face-to-face rapid testing by health personnel with minimum training at the client's home performs well when used on a wide scale in the community setting.

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