January 20, 2011
To study a requirement that all patients return to the health care setting to learn their HIV test results, the researchers described the number of HIV cases detected at Sydney Sexual Health Center among persons who disclosed no known risk factors before testing.
All HIV tests between January 2004 and January 2007 -- together with the patient's gender, sex partners' gender, and test results -- were identified through the clinic database. For each person who tested positive, the team reviewed pro forma medical records for sex partners' gender, condom use, sexual contact with a person from a country with high HIV prevalence, and injecting drug use.
A total of 13,290 HIV tests were performed during the three-year period. Among men who have sex with men, 55 (0.88 percent) of 6,194 tests were positive. Among women and heterosexual men, four (0.06 percent) of 7,096 tests were positive, and all four of these patients reported known risks for HIV infection before testing.
"Clients with no recognized risk factors for HIV are unlikely to test positive at our Australian sexual health clinic," the authors concluded. "Providing the option for low-risk people to obtain their results other than face-to-face has advantages for both the clinic in terms of service provision and the clients in terms of time and the proportion who receive their result."