A systematic review of emergency department based HIV testing and linkage to care initiatives in low resource settings

Bhakti Hansoti, Gabor D. Kelen, Thomas C. Quinn, Madeleine M. Whalen, Taylor T. DesRosiers, Steven J. Reynolds, Andrew Redd, Richard E. Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Only 45% of people currently living with HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa are aware of their HIV status. Unmet testing needs may be addressed by utilizing the Emergency Department (ED) as an innovative testing venue in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The purpose of this review is to examine the burden of HIV infection described in EDs in LMICs, with a focus on summarizing the implementation of various ED-based HIV testing strategies. Methodology and results: We performed a systematic review of Pubmed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library on June 12, 2016. A three-concept search was employed with emergency medicine (e.g., Emergency department, emergency medical services), HIV/AIDS (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), and LMIC terms (e.g., developing country, under developed countries, specific country names). The search returned 2026 unique articles. Of these, thirteen met inclusion criteria and were included in the final review. There was a large variation in the reported prevalence of HIV infection in the ED population ranging from to 2.14% in India to 43.3% in Uganda. The proportion HIV positive patients with previously undiagnosed infection ranged from 90% to 65.22%. Conclusion: In the United States ED-based HIV testing strategies have been front and center at curbing the HIV epidemic. The limited number of ED-based studies we observed in this study may represent the paucity of HIV testing in this venue in LMICs. All of the studies in this review demonstrated a high prevalence of HIV infection in the ED and an extraordinarily high percentage of previously undiagnosed HIV infection. Although the numbers of published reports are few, these diverse studies imply that in HIV endemic low resource settings EDs carry a large burden of undiagnosed HIV infections and may offer a unique testing venue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0187443
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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