Understanding the patient's perspective on rapid and routine HIV testing in an inner-city urgent care center

AIDS Educ Prev. 2004 Apr;16(2):101-14. doi: 10.1521/aeap.


The purpose of this study was to explore patient perspectives of rapid and routine HIV-testing in an urgent care center at an urban public hospital. We conducted structured focus groups during a clinical trial comparing routinely offered rapid HIV-testing, routinely offered enzyme immunoassay (EIA) testing, and conventional EIA testing. Participants of the six focus groups were 89% African American, 60% uninsured, and had a low educational status. Four independent coders analyzed the data using iterative content analysis. Rapid testing was preferred to EIA testing because it reduced the need for a return visit and stress of waiting for test results, though there were concerns about accuracy. Participants supported routinely offering testing, but there were concerns about privacy and cost. Fear and stigma were common reasons for refusing testing and not returning for results. Distrust and misconceptions about HIV, particularly regarding the importance of testing, were very common.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / methods
  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Urban Population