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HIV Nucleic Acid Testing With Automated Reporting Beneficial

Most uninfected patients in study use automated system to get results; NAT ups early HIV detection

TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Adding nucleic acid testing (NAT) that includes automated result reporting systems to routine HIV testing programs can increase the early detection of infected individuals, particularly in settings that serve men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a study in the June 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Sheldon R. Morris, M.D., of the University of California in San Diego, and colleagues administered NAT to 3,151 individuals during 2007 to 2009. The protocol included automated reporting of negative HIV results via voice mail or on the Internet and in-person nurse calls for positive HIV tests.

The researchers found that, of the 3,151 people tested, 79 had newly diagnosed cases, including 64 whose rapid HIV test was positive and 15 who had positive test results only by NAT, indicating a 23 percent increase in HIV detection yield attributable solely to NAT. Fifty-six percent of those tested and 91 percent of those with HIV were MSM. Among the 3,070 uninfected patients, 69 percent retrieved their negative NAT results, with 1,358 using the Internet. After adjusting for covariates, the researchers found that people reporting MSM behavior, younger ages, higher incomes, no recent syphilis, no use of methamphetamines, and no testing at substance abuse rehabilitation centers were more likely to use Internet or voice mail systems to access negative results.

"Nucleic acid testing programs that include automated systems for result reporting can increase case yield, especially in settings that cater to MSM," the authors write.

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