Sexual Health Vol. 9; No. 2: P. 160-165 (04..12) - Thursday,
Health department policies in Australia differ in their
recommendations regarding giving patients their HIV test
results. Traditionally, all HIV results have been provided in
person. The team undertook the current study to trial the
provision of HIV-negative test results by telephone to clients
at low risk of infection who visited sexual health services,
and to assess patients' preferences for method of delivery.
At two Sydney sexual health services during four months in
2009, all patients assessed as being at low risk for infection
were invited to receive their HIV test result by phone. Not
receiving results was defined as the failure to learn the
results within 30 days of testing.
In all, 763 clients were tested: 328 (43 percent) were
excluded following risk assessment; 30 (4 percent) declined to
take part; and 405 (53 percent) were enrolled. Among those
enrolled, 86 percent learned their test result by phone within
30 days; 97 percent reported satisfaction with delivery of the
result by phone; and 93 percent indicated a preference for
telephone delivery of their next HIV test result. The test
result was positive for only one enrolled client. Independent
predictors for receiving results within 30 days were clinic
attendance for STI screening (P=0.021), no anogenital symptoms
(P=0.015), and not being a sex worker (P=0.001).
"In this study of telephone provision of HIV results to low
HIV-risk clients, there were no adverse events, and clients
expressed satisfaction with the process plus a strong
preference for telephone delivery of future results," the
authors concluded. "There was a decreased rate of failure to
receive HIV results compared with other Australian studies."