Sensitivity and specificity of rapid HIV testing of pregnant women in India

Arvind V. Bhore, J. Sastry, D. Patke, Nikhil Gupte, P. M. Bulakh, S. Lele, A. Karmarkar, K. E. Bharucha, A. Shrotri, H. Pisal, N. Suryawanshi, S. Tripathy, A. R. Risbud, R. S. Paranjape, A. V. Shankar, A. Kshirsagar, M. A. Phadke, P. L. Joshi, Ronald Brookmeyer, R. C. Bollinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: Efforts to prevent HIV transmission from mother to infants in settings like India may benefit from the availability of reliable methods for rapid and simple HIV screening. Data from India on the reliability of rapid HIV test kits are limited and there are no data on the use of rapid HIV tests for screening of pregnant women. Methods: Pregnant women attending an antenatal clinic and delivery room in Pune agreed to participate in an evaluation of five rapid HIV tests, including (a) a saliva brush test (Oraquick HIV-1/2, Orasure Technologies Inc.), (b) a rapid plasma test (Oraquick HIV-1/2) and (c) three rapid finger prick tests (Oraquick HIV-1/2; HIV-1/2 Determine, Abbott; NEVA HIV-1/2 Cadila). Results of the rapid tests were compared with three commercial plasma enzyme immunoassay (EIA) tests (Innotest HIV AB EIA, Lab systems/ELISCAN HIV AB EIA, UBI HIV Ab EIA). Results: Between September 2000 and October 1, 2001, 1258 pregnant women were screened for HIV using these rapid tests. Forty-four (3.49%) of the specimens were HIV-antibody-positive by at least two plasma EIA tests. All of the rapid HIV tests demonstrated excellent specificity (96-100%). The sensitivity of the rapid tests ranged from 75-94%. The combined sensitivity and specificity of a two-step algorithm for rapid HIV testing was excellent for a number of combinations of the five rapid finger stick tests. Conclusion: In this relatively low HIV prevalence population of pregnant women in India, the sensitivity of the rapid HIV tests varied, when compared to a dual EIA algorithm. In general, the specificity of all the rapid tests was excellent, with very few false positive HIV tests. Based upon these data, two different rapid HIV tests for screening pregnant women in India would be highly sensitive, with excellent specificity to reliably prevent inappropriate use of antiretroviral therapy for prevention of vertical HIV transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Pregnant
  • Rapid HIV tests
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity
  • Vertical HIV transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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