Rapid HIV Testing on Women During Labor Provides Results Faster Than Testing in Hospital Laboratories, Study Says
Rapid HIV-1 testing on pregnant women performed by non-laboratory hospital staff during labor yielded accurate results faster than rapid testing sent to 24-hour hospital laboratories, according to a study published in the Sept. 12 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Reuters Health reports. Researchers from the Cook County Bureau of Health Services CORE Center in Chicago and colleagues performed testing for the "Mother Infant Rapid Intervention at Delivery" study, funded by the CDC and conducted during the first six months of 2002 in four Chicago hospitals that have the city's highest caseload of HIV-positive pregnant women. In three of the hospitals, a nurse, midwife or doctor administered OraSure Technologies' OraQuick HIV test to 225 women in labor whose HIV status was unknown. Researchers in the fourth hospital took blood samples from 155 women in labor whose HIV status was unknown and sent the samples to the 24-hour hospital laboratory for OraQuick rapid testing (Rauscher, Reuters Health, 9/11). At each hospital, duplicate blood specimens were sent for standard HIV testing. The average turnaround time for getting results at the three hospitals performing bedside testing was 45 minutes, four times shorter than the 3.5-hour turnaround for the hospital using laboratory testing. Standard testing confirmed the results to be 100% accurate, according to the study. An MMWR editorial note says that the findings indicate that point-of-care testing is "feasible" and supports the use of non-laboratory personnel in HIV rapid testing. Hospitals should assess the costs and benefits of such point-of-care testing, the editorial note says. Rapid HIV testing during labor and delivery allows women not previously tested during pregnancy to determine their status and begin antiretroviral therapy to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, according to the study (Cohen et al., MMWR, 9/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.