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Public Health Rep. 2008 Nov-Dec;123 Suppl 3:78-85.

Implementing rapid HIV testing in outreach and community settings: results from an advancing HIV prevention demonstration project conducted in seven U.S. cities.

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Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE, MS E-46, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



The goals of this project were to assess the feasibility of conducting rapid human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing in outreach and community settings to increase knowledge of HIV serostatus among groups disproportionately affected by HIV and to identify effective nonclinical venues for recruiting people in the targeted populations.


Community-based organizations (CBOs) in seven U.S. cities conducted rapid HIV testing in outreach and community settings, including public parks, homeless shelters, and bars. People with reactive preliminary positive test results received confirmatory testing, and people confirmed to be HIV-positive were referred to health-care and prevention services.


A total of 23,900 people received rapid HIV testing. Of the 267 people (1.1%) with newly diagnosed HIV infection, 75% received their confirmatory test results and 64% were referred to care. Seventy-six percent were from racial/ethnic minority groups, and 58% identified themselves as men who have sex with men, 72% of whom reported having multiple sex partners in the past year. Venues with the highest proportion of new HIV diagnoses were bathhouses, social service organizations, and needle-exchange programs. The acceptance rate for testing was 60% among sites collecting this information.


Findings from this demonstration project indicate that offering rapid HIV testing in outreach and community settings is a feasible approach for reaching members of minority groups and people at high risk for HIV infection. The project identified venues that would be important to target and offered lessons that could be used by other CBOs to design and implement similar programs in the future.

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