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AIDS Educ Prev. 2013 Aug;25(4):287-301. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2013.25.4.287.

Addressing unmet need for HIV testing in emergency care settings: a role for computer-facilitated rapid HIV testing?

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New York University College of Nursing, New York, NY, USA.


HIV testing in emergency departments (EDs) remains underutilized. The authors evaluated a computer tool to facilitate rapid HIV testing in an urban ED. Randomly assigned nonacute adult ED patients were randomly assigned to a computer tool (CARE) and rapid HIV testing before a standard visit (n = 258) or to a standard visit (n = 259) with chart access. The authors assessed intervention acceptability and compared noted HIV risks. Participants were 56% nonWhite and 58% male; median age was 37 years. In the CARE arm, nearly all (251/258) of the patients completed the session and received HIV results; four declined to consent to the test. HIV risks were reported by 54% of users; one participant was confirmed HIV-positive, and two were confirmed false-positive (seroprevalence 0.4%, 95% CI [0.01, 2.2]). Half (55%) of the patients preferred computerized rather than face-to-face counseling for future HIV testing. In the standard arm, one HIV test and two referrals for testing occurred. Computer-facilitated HIV testing appears acceptable to ED patients. Future research should assess cost-effectiveness compared with staff-delivered approaches.

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