We describe the accuracy of serial rapid HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in South Africa and discuss the implications for HIV testing and prevention.
This was a cross-sectional survey conducted at five stand-alone facilities from five provinces.
Demographic, behavioral, and clinical data were collected. Dried blood spots were obtained for HIV-related testing. Participants were offered rapid HIV testing using 2 rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) in series. In the laboratory, reference HIV testing was conducted using a third-generation enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and a fourth-generation EIA as confirmatory. Accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, false-positive, and false-negative rates were determined.
Between August 2015 and July 2016, 2503 participants were enrolled. Of these, 2343 were tested by RDT on site with a further 2137 (91.2%) having definitive results on both RDT and EIA. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, false-positive rates, and false-negative rates were 92.6% [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 89.6–94.8], 99.4% (95% CI 98.9–99.7), 97.4% (95% CI 95.2–98.6), 98.3% (95% CI 97.6–98.8), 0.6% (95% CI 0.3–1.1), and 7.4% (95% CI 5.2–10.4), respectively. False negatives were similar to true positives with respect to virological profiles.
Overall accuracy of the RDT algorithm was high, but sensitivity was lower than expected. Post-HIV test counseling should include discussions of possible false-negative results and the need for retesting among HIV negatives.