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The contribution of HIV point-of-care tests in early HIV diagnosis: community-based HIV testing monitoring in Catalonia, 1995 to 2018

  • Fernàndez-López, Laura1, 2
  • Reyes-Urueña, Juliana1, 2
  • Conway, Anna1, 3
  • Saz, Jorge4
  • Morales, Adriana5
  • Quezadas, Jaime6
  • Baroja, Jordi7
  • Rafel, Anna8
  • Pazos, Ander9
  • Avellaneda, Anna10
  • Meroño, Mercè11
  • Andreo, Lorena12
  • Romero, Lluís13
  • Lara, Anna14
  • Otón, Araceli15
  • Rifà, Benet16, 17
  • Mansilla, Rosa16, 17
  • Colom, Joan17
  • Casabona, Jordi1, 2, 18
  • 1 Centre for Epidemiological Studies on Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS of Catalonia (CEEISCAT), Catalan Health Department, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2 Centros de Investigación Biomédica en Red Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain
  • 3 (IGTP), Badalona, Spain
  • 4 BCN Checkpoint, Barcelona, Spain
  • 5 Stop Sida, Barcelona, Spain
  • 6 Associació Ciutadana Antisida de Catalunya (ACASC), Barcelona, Spain
  • 7 Centre Jove d’Atenció a les Sexualitats (CJAS), Barcelona, Spain
  • 8 Associació Antisida de Lleida, Lleida, Spain
  • 9 Gais Positius, Barcelona, Spain
  • 10 Actuavallès, Sabadell, Spain
  • 11 Fundació Àmbit Prevenció, Barcelona, Spain
  • 12 CAS/ARD Lluís Companys, Creu Roja Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  • 13 Assexora’Tgn (Associacio Comunitària de Salut Sexual del Camp de Tarragona), Tarragona, Spain
  • 14 Associació Comunitària Anti Sida de Girona (ACAS), Girona, Spain
  • 15 Creu Roja Tarragona, Tarragona, Spain
  • 16 Section for Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV, Public Health Agency of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
  • 17 Programme for Prevention, Control and Treatment of HIV, STIs and Viral Hepatitis, Public Health Agency of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
  • 18 Department of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Preventive Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
Published Article
European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC)
Publication Date
Oct 29, 2020
DOI: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.43.1900424
PMID: 33124552
PMCID: PMC7596919
PubMed Central


Background Community-based HIV testing services combined with the use of point-of-care tests (POCT) have the potential to improve early diagnosis through increasing availability, accessibility and uptake of HIV testing. Aim To describe community-based HIV testing activity in Catalonia, Spain, from 1995 to 2018, and to evaluate the impact of HIV POCT on the HIV continuum of care. Methods A community-based network of voluntary counselling and testing services in Catalonia, Spain has been collecting systematic data on activity, process and results since 1995. A descriptive analysis was performed on pooled data, describing the data in terms of people tested and reactive screening test results. Results Between 1995 and 2018, 125,876 HIV tests were performed (2.1% reactive). Since the introduction of HIV POCT in 2007, a large increase in the number of tests performed was observed, reaching 14,537 tests alone in 2018 (1.3% reactive). Men who have sex with men (MSM), as a proportion of all people tested, has increased greatly over time reaching 74.7% in 2018. The highest percentage of reactive tests was found in people who inject drugs followed by MSM. The contribution of community-based HIV testing to the overall total notified cases in the Catalonia HIV registry has gradually increased, reaching 37.9% in 2018, and 70% of all MSM cases. In 2018, the percentage of individuals with a reactive screening test who were linked to care was 89.0%. Conclusion Our study reinforces the important role that community-based HIV POCT has on the diagnosis of HIV in key populations.

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