Use of rapid HIV testing in a low threshold centre in Antwerp, Belgium, 2007-2012

Kristien Wouters, Catharina Fransen, Greta Beelaert, Christopher Kenyon, Tom Platteau, Christiane Van Ghyseghem, Ilse Collier, Jozefien Buyze, Eric Florence

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The Antwerp Helpcenter is a low threshold screening centre for HIV and STI testing focused on high-risk groups. The aim of this work is to describe our experience with the use of rapid HIV tests including the analysis of the characteristics of new cases of HIV infection. We performed a retrospective analysis of all rapid tests routinely performed at the Helpcenter in the period June 2007 to December 2012. The Determine(®)HIV-1/2 (3rd generation) was used until May 2009 and thereafter the Determine Combo(®)HIV-1/2 Ag/Ab (Alere) test (4th generation) on venous blood. All reactive tests were confirmed using a standard confirmation algorithm with ELISAs and a confirmation test (INNO-LIA HIVI/II Score(®)). In all, 5025 rapid tests were performed on blood specimens of 3881 clients including 1173 men having sex with men and 454 migrants from sub-Sahara Africa. The overall prevalence of HIV infection was 1.5% and higher among the risk groups: 4.0% of men having sex with men and 2.2% of migrants from sub-Sahara Africa. The availability of a rapid test was an important reason to present at the Helpcenter. The rapid test was successfully introduced into an outpatient testing centre. Client satisfaction with RT was high and most clients were successfully linked to care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of STD & AIDS
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)936-942
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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