An evaluation of a routine opt-out rapid HIV testing program in a Rhode Island jail

  • Beckwith C
  • Bazerman L
  • Cornwall A
 et al. 
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There is an increased prevalence of HIV among incarcerated populations.
We conducted a rapid HIV testing pilot program using oral specimens at
the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) jail. Detainees (N =
1,364) were offered rapid testing upon jail entrance and 98% completed
testing. Twelve detainees had reactive rapid tests, one of which was a
new HIV diagnosis. To evaluate the program qualitatively, we conducted
key informant interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders. There
was overwhelming support for the oral fluid rapid HIV test. Correctional
staff reported improved inmate processing due to the elimination of
phlebotomy required with conventional HIV testing. Delivering negative
rapid HIV test results in real-time during the jail intake process
remained a challenge but completion of confirmatory testing among those
with reactive rapid tests was possible. Rapid HIV testing using oral
specimens in the RIDOC jail was feasible and preferred by correctional

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  • Curt G. Beckwith

  • Lauri Bazerman

  • Alexandra H. Cornwall

  • Emily Patry

  • Michael Poshkus

  • Jeannia Fu

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