Counselor- Versus Provider-Based HIV Screening in the Emergency Department: Results From the Universal Screening for HIV Infection in the Emergency Room (USHER) Randomized Controlled Trial

Division of Infectious Diseases and General Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
Annals of emergency medicine (Impact Factor: 4.68). 07/2011; 58(1 Suppl 1):S126-32.e1-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2011.03.023
Source: PubMed


We compare rates of rapid HIV testing, test offer, and acceptance in an urban emergency department (ED) when conducted by dedicated HIV counselors versus current members of the ED staff.
The Universal Screening for HIV Infection in the Emergency Room [USHER] trial is a prospective randomized controlled trial that implemented an HIV screening program in the ED of an urban tertiary medical center. ED patients were screened and consented for trial enrollment by an USHER research assistant. Eligible subjects were randomized to rapid HIV testing (oral OraQuick) offered by a dedicated counselor (counselor arm) or by an ED provider (provider arm). In the counselor arm, counselors-without other clinical responsibilities-assumed nearly all testing-related activities (consent, counseling, delivery of test results). In the provider arm, trained ED emergency service assistants (nursing assistants) consented and tested the participant in the context of other ED-related responsibilities. In this arm, ED house officers, physician assistants, or attending physicians provided HIV test results to trial participants. Outcome measures were rates of HIV testing and test offer among individuals consenting for study participation. Among individuals offered the test, test acceptance was also measured.
From February 2007 through July 2008, 8,187 eligible patients were approached in the ED, and 4,855 (59%) consented and were randomized to trial participation. The mean age was 37 years, 65% were women, and 42% were white. The overall testing rate favored the counselor arm (57% versus 27%; P<.001); 80% (1,959/2,446) of subjects in the counselor arm were offered an HIV test compared with 36% (861/2,409) in the provider arm (P<.001). HIV test acceptance was slightly higher in the provider arm (counselor arm 71% versus provider arm 75%; P = .025).
Routine rapid HIV testing in the ED was accomplished more frequently by dedicated HIV counselors than by ED staff in the course of routine clinical work. Without dedicated staff, HIV testing in this setting may not be truly routine.

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    • "One of the most common reasons for declining HIV screening is lack of perception of risk for HIV infection [25,28,30,32,35,39-41,50,51],[53,58,61-64]. Due to the high prevalence of reported sexual risk and alcohol misuse by ED patients, many techniques have been utilized, with mixed results, to increase uptake of HIV screening, including opt-out HIV screening [36,45,54-57,60,61,65], financial incentives [66], ED staff or clinician-initiated testing [51,54,67], oral fluid sampling for testing [53], prevention counseling [64], and video or computer-based interventions [43,68,69]. Although a number of studies have examined alcohol misuse, HIV risk, and HIV screening, there is a paucity of research on the intersection of these issues. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Emergency department (ED) patients comprise a high-risk population for alcohol misuse and sexual risk for HIV. In order to design future interventions to increase HIV screening uptake, we examined the interrelationship among alcohol misuse, sexual risk for HIV and HIV screening uptake among these patients. Methods A random sample of 18-64-year-old English- or Spanish-speaking patients at two EDs during July-August 2009 completed a self-administered questionnaire about their alcohol use using the Alcohol Use Questionnaire, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and the HIV Sexual Risk Questionnaire. Study participants were offered a rapid HIV test after completing the questionnaires. Binging (≥ five drinks/occasion for men, ≥ four drinks for women) was assessed and sex-specific alcohol misuse severity levels (low-risk, harmful, hazardous, dependence) were calculated using AUDIT scores. Analyses were limited to participants who had sexual intercourse in the past 12 months. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the associations between HIV screening uptake and (1) alcohol misuse, (2) sexual risk for HIV, and (3) the intersection of HIV sexual risk and alcohol misuse. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. All models were adjusted for patient demographic characteristics and separate models for men and women were constructed. Results Of 524 participants (55.0% female), 58.4% identified as white, non-Hispanic, and 72% reported previous HIV testing. Approximately 75% of participants reported drinking alcohol within the past 30 days and 74.5% of men and 59.6% of women reported binge drinking. A relationship was found between reported sexual risk for HIV and alcohol use among men (AOR 3.31 [CI 1.51-7.24]) and women (AOR 2.78 [CI 1.48-5.23]). Women who reported binge drinking were more likely to have higher reported sexual risk for HIV (AOR 2.55 [CI 1.40-4.64]) compared to women who do not report binge drinking. HIV screening uptake was not higher among those with greater alcohol misuse and sexual risk among men or women. Conclusions The apparent disconnection between HIV screening uptake and alcohol misuse and sexual risk for HIV among ED patients in this study is concerning. Brief interventions emphasizing these associations should be evaluated to reduce alcohol misuse and sexual risk and increase the uptake of ED HIV screening.
    BMC Emergency Medicine 05/2013; 13(1):9. DOI:10.1186/1471-227X-13-9

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