School of Public Health
South Africa-Implementing and evaluating emergency department based HIV testing strategies in South Africa
Background: South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world, with 19% of the global number of people living with HIV, 15% of new infections and 11% of AIDS related deaths. Even though HIV testing is mandated in all hospital-based facilities in SA, it is rarely implemented in the emergency department (ED). The ED is a unique healthcare setting which provides episodic care to large volumes of undifferentiated patients for short periods of time who present with unplanned injury or illness, and thus may have the opportunity to capture undiagnosed HIV-infected patients missed by routine clinic-based screening programs.
Methods: In this prospective exploratory study, we will implement the National South African HIV testing guidelines, including 24-hours a day counselor initiated HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT), at Port Elizabeth Hospital in the Eastern Cape over a three month period. The purpose of this study is to quantify the burden of undiagnosed HIV infection in a South African ED setting. Furthermore, we seek to evaluate the effectiveness of the nationally recommended testing model in the ED to capture patients for testing. All patients who presented for care in the ED during the study period, and who were clinically stable and fully conscious, are eligible to be approached by HCT staff to receive a rapid point-of-care HIV test.
PI Mentor: Bhakti Hansoti