Evaluation of opt-out inpatient HIV screening at an urban teaching hospital

Georgina Osorio, Martin Hoenigl, Jennifer Quartarolo, Khamisah Barger, Sheldon R. Morris, Sharon L. Reed, Joshua Lee, Susan J. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study evaluated opt-out inpatient HIV screening delivered by admitting physicians, and compared number of HIV tests and diagnoses to signs and symptoms-directed HIV testing (based on physician orders) in the emergency department (ED). The opt-out inpatient HIV screening program was conducted over a one year period in patients who were admitted to the 386-bed University of California San Diego (UCSD) teaching hospital. Numbers of HIV tests and diagnoses were compared to those observed among ED patients who underwent physician-directed HIV testing during the same time period. Survey data were collected from a convenience sample of patients and providers regarding the opt-out testing program. Among 8488 eligible inpatients, opt-out HIV testing was offered to 3017 (36%) patients, and rapid antibody testing was performed in 1389 (16.4%) inpatients, resulting in 6 (0.4% of all tests) newly identified HIV infections (5/6 were admitted through the ED). Among 27,893 ED patients, rapid antibody testing was performed in 88 (0.3%), with 7 (8.0% of all tests) new HIV infections identified. HIV diagnoses in the ED were more likely to be men who have sex with men (MSM) (p = 0.029) and tended to have AIDS-related opportunistic infections (p = 0.103) when compared to HIV diagnoses among inpatients. While 85% of the 150 physicians who completed the survey were aware of the HIV opt-out screening program, 44% of physicians felt that they did not have adequate time to consent patients for the program, and only 30% agreed that a physician is best-suited to consent patients. In conclusion, the yield of opt-out HIV rapid antibody screening in inpatients was comparable to the national HIV prevalence average. However, uptake of screening was markedly limited in this setting where opt-out screening was delivered by physicians during routine care, with limited time resources being the major barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1018
Number of pages5
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number8
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2017


  • HIV surveillance
  • HIV testing
  • emergency department
  • healthcare setting
  • routine


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