Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

HIV Notification, Counseling Soar with Rapid HIV Testing

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

HIV Notification, Counseling Soar with Rapid HIV Testing

Article excerpt

QUEBEC CITY -- The use of rapid human immunodeficiency virus testing has had a profound impact on primary care settings in New Jersey, Dr. Denise Young reported in a poster at the annual meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group.

Because the test doesn't require patients to make a second visit to receive their results, more HIV-positive patients are learning of their HIV status and receiving counseling.

New Jersey, which is fifth in the United States in cumulative reported AIDS cases, introduced rapid HIV testing at publicly funded testing and counseling clinics in November 2003. It is now used in 90 sites throughout the state.

Testing has been done with the OraQuick Rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test (OraSure Technologies, Bethlehem, Pa.), which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use with whole blood. It is not approved for serum testing or stored samples.

A whole-blood specimen is obtained via fingerstick or venipuncture and inserted into the testing device, which resembles a home pregnancy test kit. Results are ready in 20 minutes. This compares with 1-2 weeks for the most commonly used initial HIV test, the enzyme immune assay, confirmed with Western blot or immunofluorescence assay.

Prior to rapid testing, only 65% of patients in New Jersey returned for their results. In contrast, 99.7% of 25,264 patients screened with rapid HIV testing got their results and received counseling, according to an analysis of state databases through July 21, 2005.

A total of 510 (2%) patients were HIV positive. …

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