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Assessing the HIV rapid test in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Trinidad

Authors Mungrue K, Sahadool S, Evans R, Boochay S, Ragoobar F, Maharaj K, Green S, Pennerman T, Tayopa O

Received 31 January 2012

Accepted for publication 11 September 2012

Published 7 August 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 191—198


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Kameel Mungrue, Sayyad Sahadool, Reonda Evans, Shalini Boochay, Faith Ragoobar, Kiran Maharaj, Shade Green, Tamarah Pennerman, Oletlantse Tayopa

Faculty of Medical Sciences, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

Objective: To evaluate the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) rapid test as an effective tool in the response to the HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in Trinidad.
Design and methods: The study is comprised of a retrospective analysis of data collected from May 2008 to July 15, 2011 and a prospective arm of those tested during July 18, 2011 – August 30, 2011. During the prospective phase, blood samples were tested using rapid tests manufactured by Inverness Medical Innovation and Trinity Biotech followed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test, irrespective of the results of the rapid test. A structured questionnaire was administered to collect demographic data and risk behaviors. The study was conducted in one randomly selected primary health care facility of the eight that offered same-day HIV testing in Trinidad.
Results: A total of 297 persons participated in the prospective arm of the study and the rapid test was found to have a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 99.6%. Females and those aged 20–29 years were most likely to participate. Over the study period, the number of persons who received rapid tests increased but the prevalence of positive HIV test results decreased from 4.4% in 2008 to 2.1% in 2011. The main reasons for being tested were curiosity (38%), results being obtainable the same day (27%), and confidentiality (13%). Approximately 50% of respondents reported more than one sex partner in the previous year while 14% used condoms regularly.
Conclusion: People need to know their own HIV status and that of their partners to make healthy decisions about sexual behavior. At the health facility studied, 2.6% of people who took the HIV rapid test were HIV positive.

Keywords: HIV testing tool, HIV status, rapid testing, voluntary testing and counseling (VCT)

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