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Sex Transm Dis. 2014 Sep;41(9):545-50. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000168.

The cost of implementing rapid HIV testing in sexually transmitted disease clinics in the United States.

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From the *Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; †Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL; ‡Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY; §Public Health-Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA; and ¶San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA.



Rapid HIV testing in high-risk populations can increase the number of persons who learn their HIV status and avoid spending clinic resources to locate persons identified as HIV infected.


We determined the cost to sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics of point-of-care rapid HIV testing using data from 7 public clinics that participated in a randomized trial of rapid testing with and without brief patient-centered risk reduction counseling in 2010. Costs included counselor and trainer time, supplies, and clinic overhead. We applied national labor rates and test costs. We calculated median clinic start-up costs and mean cost per patient tested, and projected incremental annual costs of implementing universal rapid HIV testing compared with current testing practices.


Criteria for offering rapid HIV testing and methods for delivering nonrapid test results varied among clinics before the trial. Rapid HIV testing cost an average of US $22/patient without brief risk reduction counseling and US $46/patient with counseling in these 7 clinics. Median start-up costs per clinic were US $1100 and US $16,100 without and with counseling, respectively. Estimated incremental annual costs per clinic of implementing universal rapid HIV testing varied by whether or not brief counseling is conducted and by current clinic testing practices, ranging from a savings of US $19,500 to a cost of US $40,700 without counseling and a cost of US $98,000 to US $153,900 with counseling.


Universal rapid HIV testing in STD clinics with same-day results can be implemented at relatively low cost to STD clinics, if brief risk reduction counseling is not offered.

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