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Arch Intern Med. 1997 Feb 10;157(3):309-14.

Anonymous HIV testing using home collection and telemedicine counseling. A multicenter evaluation.

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Department of Medicine, Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, USA.



Home human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing has been proposed as an alternative to conventional HIV testing. Despite debate over HIV type 1 (HIV-1) home test systems, these concerns have not to our knowledge been previously studied.


To evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Home Access Health Corp (Hoffman Estates, Ill) HIV-1 test system compared with traditional HIV-1 testing with venous blood.


A total of 1255 subjects were studied prospectively in a blinded, subject-as-control evaluation at 9 outpatient clinics using intent-to-treat analysis. Subjects were provided a home collection kit (Home Access Health Corp) to collect their own finger-stick blood spot samples for laboratory analysis. Subjects received pretest counseling by telephone and their comprehension was subsequently assessed. Subject-collected blood spot samples were compared with professionally drawn blood spot samples for adequacy (sufficient for completing the Food and Drug Administration-endorsed testing) and with venous samples for accuracy. Subjects called 3 days later for anonymous results and posttest counseling. Device safety was evaluated based on adverse events incidence. Subject comprehension of HIV information was measured.


Subject-collected blood spot sample results were in complete agreement with venous blood sample results, demonstrating 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity compared with venous controls. Ninety-eight percent of subjects obtained testable blood spot specimens compared with phlebotomists. Following pretest counseling, subjects answered 96% of HIV risk questions correctly. There were no significant adverse events.


Anonymous HIV-1 home collection kits with pretest and posttest telephone counseling can provide a safe and effective alternative to conventional venous HIV-1 antibody testing.

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