A randomised prospective study to evaluate a rapid HIV-antibody assay in the management of cases of percutaneous exposure amongst health care workers

Swiss Med Wkly. 2001 Jan 12;131(1-2):10-3.


A rapid start of post-exposure prophylaxis with an antiretroviral regime is recommended after percutaneous exposure to blood from an HIV-positive source. Since the HIV-antibody status of the source is usually not known at the time of injury, antiretroviral treatment is started pending the results of HIV testing of the source. A randomised prospective study was designed to compare the use of a rapid-screening assay in the management of cases of percutaneous exposure with the conventional procedure. Prior to the comparative study, the accuracy of a rapid-screening assay performed by non-laboratory trained personnel was evaluated. 123 blinded HIV-positive and HIV-negative samples were correctly identified. In a randomised comparison with the conventional procedure, the application of the rapid-screening assay resulted in a significant reduction of psychological stress, drug use and cost. The estimated net benefit per case was CHF 93.-(62 US$). This study strongly supports the use of the rapid-screening assay in the management of post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV after percutaneous exposure in health care workers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • HIV Antibodies / blood*
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure* / economics
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Skin
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Switzerland


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • HIV Antibodies