Access and Quality of HIV-Related Point-of-Care Diagnostic Testing in Global Health Programs

Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Feb 1;62(3):369-374. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ866. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Access to point-of-care testing (POCT) improves patient care, especially in resource-limited settings where laboratory infrastructure is poor and the bulk of the population lives in rural settings. However, because of challenges in rolling out the technology and weak quality assurance measures, the promise of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related POCT in resource-limited settings has not been fully exploited to improve patient care and impact public health. Because of these challenges, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in partnership with other organizations, recently launched the Diagnostics Access Initiative. Expanding HIV programs, including the "test and treat" strategies and the newly established UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, will require increased access to reliable and accurate POCT results. In this review, we examine various components that could improve access and uptake of quality-assured POC tests to ensure coverage and public health impact. These components include evaluation, policy, regulation, and innovative approaches to strengthen the quality of POCT.

Keywords: access; evaluation; point-of-care testing; policy; quality assurance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Global Health
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • United Nations