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Pinkerton SD, Bogart LM, Howerton D, Snyder S, Becker K, Asch SM. Cost of rapid HIV testing at 45 U.S. hospitals. AIDS Patient Care and Stds. 2010 Jul 1; 24(7):409-13.
In 2006, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended expanded and routine use of single-session rapid HIV tests in all health care settings to increase the proportion of persons who learn their HIV status. Limited empiric information is available regarding the costs of rapid testing and pre- and posttest counseling in health care settings. We surveyed 45 U.S. hospitals during 2005 through 2006 to assess the costs associated with rapid testing and counseling. Cost analyses were conducted from the provider (hospital) perspective, and results were expressed in year 2006 U.S. dollars. The mean per-test cost of rapid HIV testing and counseling was $48.07 for an HIV-negative test and $64.17 for a preliminary-positive test. Pre- and posttest counseling costs accounted for 38.4% of the total cost of rapid testing for HIV-negative patients. Counseling costs were significantly correlated with overall test costs. Many hospitals contained overall test costs by limiting time spent in pre- and posttest counseling or by using lower-paid personnel for counseling activities or both. Counseling costs constituted a significant proportion of the overall costs of rapid testing and counseling activities at study hospitals. Our data provide useful baseline data before implementation of the CDC''s 2006 recommendations. Costs can be reduced by limiting time spent in pre- and posttest counseling or by using lower-paid personnel for counseling activities or both.