Bundled HIV and Hepatitis C Testing in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Controlled Trial
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bundled HIV and Hepatitis C Testing in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Author(s): Cowan, Ethan;
  • Herman, Heather S.;
  • Rahman, Sara;
  • Zahn, Jennifer;
  • Leider, Jason;
  • Calderon, Yvette
  • et al.

Introduction: An estimated 25% of the 1.2 million individuals living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the U.S. are co-infected with hepatitis C (HCV). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HCV testing for high-risk groups. Our goal was to measure the impact of bundled HIV and HCV testing vs. HIV testing alone on test acceptance and identification of HCV and HIV.

Methods: We conducted a two-armed, randomized controlled trial on a convenience sample of 478 adult patients in the Jacobi Medical Center emergency department from December 2012 to May 2013. Participants were randomized to receive either an offer of bundled HIV/HCV testing or HIV testing alone. We compared the primary outcome, HIV test acceptance, between the two groups. Secondary outcomes included HIV and HCV prevalence, and HCV test acceptance, refusal, risk, and knowledge. 

Results: We found no significant difference in HIV test acceptance between the bundled HCV/HIV (91.8%) and HIV-only (90.6%) groups (p=0.642). There were also no significant differences in test acceptance based on gender, race, or ethnicity. A majority of participants (76.6%) reported at least one HCV risk factor. No participants tested positive for HIV, and one (0.5%) tested positive for HCV. 

Conclusion: Integrating bundled, rapid HCV/HIV testing into an established HIV testing program did not significantly impact HIV test acceptance. Future screening efforts for HCV could be integrated into current HIV testing models to target high-risk cohorts.

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