Sensitivity and specificity of HIV rapid tests used for research and voluntary counselling and testing.
Anzala O., Sanders EJ., Kamali A., Katende M., Mutua GN., Ruzagira E., Stevens G., Simek M., Price M.
BACKGROUND: HIV rapid tests (RT) are a quick and non-technically demanding means to perform HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) but understanding their limitations is vital to delivering quality VCT. OBJECTIVE: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of HIV rapid tests used for research and voluntary counselling and testing at four sites in East Africa. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Masaka District, Uganda; a sugar plantation in Kakira, Uganda; Coastal Villages in the Kilifi District of Kenya; and the Urban slum of Kangemi located West of Nairobi, Kenya. SUBJECTS: Six thousands two hundred and fifty five consenting volunteers were enrolled into the study, and 675 prevalent HIV infections were identified. RESULTS: The RT sensitivity tended to be high for all assays at all sites (97.63-100%) with the exception of the Uni-Gold assay (90.24% in Kangemi, 96.58% in Kilifi). Twenty four RT results were recorded as 'weak positives', 22 (92%) of which were negative by ELISA. There was a high rate of RT false positives in Uganda (positive predictive values ranging from 45.70% to 86.62%). CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity and specificity of the RT varied significantly across sites. The rate of RT misclassification in Uganda suggests that a multiple test algorithm may be preferable to a single test as screener for HIV VCT.