A prospective controlled trial of routine opt-out HIV testing in a men's jail

Ravi Kavasery, Duncan Smith Rohrberg Maru, Laurie N. Sylla, David Smith, Frederick L. Altice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Approximately 10 million Americans enter jails annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends routine opt-out HIV testing in these settings. The logistics for performing routine opt-out HIV testing within jails, however, remain controversial. The objective of this study was to evaluate the optimal time to routinely HIV test newly incarcerated jail detainees using an opt-out strategy. Methods: This prospective, controlled trial of routine opt-out HIV testing was conducted among 298 newly incarcerated male inmates in an urban men's jail in New Haven, Connecticut. 298 sequential entrants to the men's jail over a three week period in March and April 2008 were assigned to be offered routine opt-out HIV testing at one of three points after incarceration: immediate (same day, n = 103), early (next day, n = 98), or delayed (7 days, n = 97). The primary outcome was the proportion of men in each group consenting to testing. Results: Routine opt-out HIV testing was significantly higher for the early (53%: AOR = 2.6; 95% CI = 1.5 to 4.7) and immediate (45%: AOR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.3 to 4.0) testing groups compared to the delayed (33%) testing group. The immediate and early testing groups, however, did not significantly differ (p = 0.67). In multivariate analyses, factors significantly associated with routine opt-out HIV testing were assignment to the 'early' testing group (p = 0.0003) and low (bond ≥$5,000, immigration or federal charges or pre-sentencing >30 days) likelihood of early release (p = 0.04). Two subjects received preliminary positive results and one of them was subsequently confirmed HIV seropositive. Conclusions: In this men's jail where attrition was high, routine opt-out HIV testing was not only feasible, but resulted in the highest rates of HIV testing when performed within 24 hours of incarceration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8056
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - 25 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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