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Rapid Hiv Testing in Urban Outreach: a Strategy for Improving Posttest Counseling Rates
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In 1998, 48% of persons who had HIV testing at publicly funded sites in the United States failed to return for test results and posttest counseling. Opportunities for timely HIV therapy were lost; valuable resources were wasted. This study tested the hypothesis that rapid HIV testing enables a high percentage of high-risk outreach clients to learn their serostatus. We did on-site counseling and rapid HIV testing at community-based organizations (e.g., chemical dependency programs, homeless shelters) in North Minneapolis. The project tested 735 persons. All but one (99.9%) learned their HIV serostatus. African Americans made up 79% of subjects. Rapid testing has a role to play in HIV outreach. It is useful in populations who are at high risk of HIV infection, who currently are not accessing HIV testing, and who have high failure to return rates. Future developments in rapid testing technology will make this testing option more convenient and cost-effective. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services