Introduction Point of Care Testing (POCT) for HIV potentially removes the need for venipuncture; however it is currently still required for syphilis and hepatitis B testing. Syphilis POCTs exist but most cannot be used for clients with a past history of syphilis. Newcastle Sexual Health Service explored whether venipuncture could be avoided at the Hunter ACON outreach clinic.
Methods A list of MSM seen at Hunter ACON during 2014 was obtained from the clinic database. Data for the following parameters were obtained from laboratory and clinic records: numbers of individual clients, occasions of service, if they were first time presenters to the service, past history of syphilis and HBV status.
Results 105 MSM clients were tested for syphilis on 150 occasions during 2014 at Hunter ACON with 2 clients testing positive on the syphilis screening EIA. Both clients were known to have been previously diagnosed with syphilis. 71 clients attended as a first visit, 40 of these were of unknown hepatitis A or B status and hence may have required HBV testing. Further analysis of reported HBV status may reduce this number as NSW has been vaccinating MSM and school aged males for many years. Overall 108 of 150 (72%) HIV testing occasions could have avoided venipuncture through use of HIV and syphilis rapid testing.
Conclusion This data demonstrates that a syphilis POCT could be used for the overwhelming majority of MSM seen at the Hunter ACON outreach clinic. In at least 72% of occasion’s venipuncture could be avoided when performing HIV/STI testing at the Hunter ACON clinic.
Disclosure of interest statement N/A.