Detecting HIV Among Persons Accompanying Patients to an Infectious Diseases Clinic

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Abstract

Background

Infectious diseases (ID) clinics are locations where members of at risk social networks, including sex partners of HIV-infected patients, make contact with a medical care setting when they accompany HIV-positive patients to appointments.

Methods

We implemented a free point-of-care rapid HIV testing program for anyone accompanying a patient to the University of North Carolina ID clinic. Acceptability of the program among the general clinic population was assessed via an anonymous survey 1 year after program implementation. Basic frequencies of those who underwent and received results of rapid HIV testing, the proportion of positive rapid tests and confirmatory HIV tests performed, and the level of University of North Carolina ID clinic patient satisfaction with the HIV testing program were calculated.

Results

Between October 2007 and June 2013, 450 (99.6%) of 452 individuals tested in the program received their results on the same day as testing. Twenty-two individuals (4.9%) tested HIV positive, of which 16 (72.7%) were newly positive, including 3 never previously tested. Excluding previously diagnosed individuals, HIV prevalence was 3.6% (16/446). Among those testing positive by rapid testing, 19 (86.4%) had confirmatory testing and immediately entered into HIV care at the clinic.

Conclusions

The high positivity and confirmatory HIV rates in our program confirm that the provision of rapid HIV testing in an ID clinic capitalizes on missed opportunities among an at-risk population and allows immediate linkage to care.

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