People With Access to Rapid HIV Tests More Likely To Get Tested, Collect Results, Study Says
People with access to rapid HIV tests are more likely to get tested and collect their results than people with access to traditional testing, according to a study presented this week by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Reuters Health reports. Henry Anaya of the Los Angeles branch of the VA presented the study and said he and his colleagues looked at three groups of people between ages 18 and 65 who were waiting for appointments at VA primary and urgent care clinics in Los Angeles. None of the participants knew their HIV status, and none had undergone an HIV test within the past year, according to the study. The first group of people was encouraged to ask their physicians for an HIV test during their appointment; the second group was referred to a nurse for traditional HIV testing, which requires patients to return to the clinic days after their test for their results; and the third group was referred to a nurse who offered them a rapid HIV test that yielded results in about 20 minutes (Reuters Health, 8/18). According to the study, 41% of people in the group who were prompted to request an HIV test received the test, and 41% of those tested collected their results. In the second group, 84% of people who were offered a traditional test underwent one, and 52% of those tested collected their results, the study finds. In the third group, 93% of people who were offered a rapid HIV test were tested, and 90% of those people collected their results. The researchers concluded the results show that an "interventional model," in which people do not have to ask to undergo the test, "will likely result in higher screening rates than traditional HIV testing models" (Anaya/Asch, "Improving HIV Screening With Rapid Testing and Streamlined Counseling," 8/17). The testing program is used in an initiative that targets homeless veterans in the Los Angeles County and might become more widely used across the VA, Anaya said (Reuters Health, 8/18).
Kaisernetwork.org served as the official webcaster of the conference. View the guide to coverage and all webcasts, interviews and a daily video round up of conference highlights at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006.