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Observational study of the populations accessing rapid point-of-care HIV testing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, through a retrospective chart review of site records


Objectives HIV point-of-care testing (POCT) has been available in Manitoba since 2008. This study evaluated the effectiveness of POCT at identifying individuals with previously unknown HIV status, its effects on clinical outcomes and the characteristics of the populations reached.

Methods A retrospective database review was conducted for individuals who received HIV POCT from 2011 to 2014. Time to linkage to care and viral load suppression were compared between individuals who tested positive for HIV using POCT and controls identified as positive through standard screening. Testing outcomes for labouring women with undocumented HIV status accessing POCT during labour were also assessed.

Results 3204 individuals received POCT (1055 females (32.9%) and 2149 males (67.1%)), being the first recorded HIV test for 2205 (68.8%). Males were more likely to be targeted with POCT as their first recorded HIV test (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.40). Between the two main test sites (Main Street Project (MSP) and Nine Circles Community Health Centre), MSP tested relatively fewer males (AOR 0.79) but a higher proportion of members of all age groups over 30 years old (AOR 1.83, 2.51 and 3.64 for age groups 30–39, 40–49 and >50, respectively). There was no difference in time to linkage to care (p=0.345) or viral load suppression (p=0.405) between the POCT and standard screening cohorts. Of 215 women presenting in labour with unknown HIV status, one was identified as HIV positive.

Conclusions POCT in Manitoba has been successful at identifying individuals with previously unknown HIV-positive status. Demographic differences between the two main testing sites support that this intervention is reaching unique populations. Given that we observed no significant difference in time to clinical outcomes, it is reasonable to continue using POCT as a targeted intervention.

MeSH terms HIV infection; rapid HIV testing; vertical infectious disease transmission; community outreach; service delivery; marginalised populations.

  • HIV testing
  • screening
  • service delivery
  • outreach services
  • antenatal HIV

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