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AIDS Educ Prev. 2011 Jun;23(3 Suppl):58-69. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2011.23.3_supp.58.

Emergency department HIV screening with rapid tests: a cost comparison of alternative models.

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


Although previous studies have shown that HIV screening in emergency departments (EDs) is feasible, the costs and outcomes of alternative methods of implementing ED screening have not been examined. We compared the costs and outcomes of a model that used the hospital's ED staff to conduct screening, a supplemental staff model that used non-ED staff hired to conduct screening and a hypothetical hybrid model that combined aspects of both approaches. We developed a decision analytic model to estimate the cost per HIV-infected patient identified using alternative ED testing models. The cost per new HIV infection identified was $3,319, $2,084 and $1,850 under the supplemental, existing staff and hybrid models, respectively. Assuming an annual ED census of 50,000 patients, the existing staff model identified 29 more HIV infections than the supplemental model and the hybrid model identified 76 more infections than the existing staff model. Our findings suggest that a hybrid model should be favored over either a supplemental staff or existing staff model in terms of cost per outcome achieved.

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