Offer of rapid testing and alternative biological samples as practical tools to implement HIV screening programs

Maria Rita Parisi, Laura Soldini, Giovanni Di Perri, Simon Tiberi, Adriano Lazzarin, Flavia B. Lillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Implementation of HIV testing has the objective to increase screening, identify and counsel persons with infection, link them to clinical services and reduce transmission. Rapid tests and/or alternative biological samples (like oral fluid) give the option for a better general consent in approaching screening, immediate referral of HIV positives to medical treatment and partner notification. We tested the performance characteristics of an oral fluid-based rapid HIV test (Rapidtest HIV® lateral flow-Healthchem diag. LLC) in comparison with routinely utilized methods in a selected population of known positive (N= 121) or negative (N=754) subjects. The sensitivity of the rapid test was 99.1% (one false negative sample) and the specificity 98.8%. Five negatives showed a faint reactivity, 3 of these were reactive also in the reference test, one with a p24 only reaction in Western blot. If these 3 samples were excluded from the analysis the specificity increases to 99.2%. Results from our study confirm that, although a continuous improvement of the test performance is still needed to minimize false negative and positive results, rapid test and alternative biological samples may contribute to HIV prevention strategies by reaching a larger population particularly when and where regular screening procedures are difficult to obtain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-396
Number of pages6
JournalNew Microbiologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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