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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2016 Dec;40(6):455-461.

Comparative effectiveness of single and dual rapid diagnostic tests for syphilis and HIV in antenatal care services in Colombia.

Author information

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Instituto Nacional de Salud, Bogotá, Colombia.
Ministerio de Salud y la Protección Social, Bogotá, Colombia.
Pan American Health Organization, Bogotá, Colombia.
Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C., United States of America.



To assess the effectiveness of a dual rapid test compared to a single rapid test for syphilis and HIV screening.


A cluster-randomized open-label clinical trial was performed in 12 public antenatal care (ANC) centers in the cities of Bogotá and Cali, Colombia. Pregnant women who were over 14 years of age at their first antenatal visit and who had not been previously tested for HIV and syphilis during the current pregnancy were included. Pregnant women were randomized to single HIV and single syphilis rapid diagnostic tests (Arm A) or to dual HIV and syphilis rapid diagnostic tests (Arm B). The four main outcomes measured were: (1) acceptability of the test, (2) uptake in testing, (3) treatment on the same day (that is, timely treatment), and (4) treatment at any time for positive rapid test cases. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were calculated to adjust for the clustering effect and the period.


A total of 1 048 patients were analyzed in Arm A, and 1 166 in Arm B. Acceptability of the rapid tests was 99.8% in Arm A and 99.6% in Arm B. The prevalence of positive rapid tests was 2.21% for syphilis and 0.36% for HIV. Timely treatment was provided to 20 of 29 patients (69%) in Arm A and 16 of 20 patients (80%) in Arm B (relative risk (RR), 1.10; 95% confidence interval (CI): (1.00 -1.20). Treatment at any time was given to 24 of 29 patients (83%) in Arm A and to 20 of 20 (100%) in Arm B (RR, 1.11; 95% CI: 1.01-1.22).


There were no differences in patient acceptability, testing and timely treatment between dual rapid tests and single rapid tests for HIV and syphilis screening in the ANC centers. Same-day treatment depends also on the interpretation of and confidence in the results by the health providers.

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