Implementation of Routine Rapid HIV Testing Within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System


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Current HIV testing methods can be ineffective; patients often do not return for results. HIV rapid testing (RT) provides accurate results in 20 min. Patients find nurse-initiated HIV rapid testing (NRT) more acceptable than current testing methods and increases receipt of test results. Translating research findings into sustainable practice poses widely recognized implementation challenges. To ascertain effectiveness of NRT implementation, formative and process evaluations were conducted within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (VA). Nurses and physicians at 2 VA medical centers were trained to administer RT. A preimplementation formative evaluation was conducted at Site 1. Process evaluations of ongoing RT activities were conducted at Site 2. Interviews were conducted with key informants. Content and thematic analysis was conducted on the field notes. A variety of barriers and facilitators were discovered that impacted the implementation of NRT. Findings indicate concerns regarding training and incorporating NRT into workflow. Process interviews indicated that training concerns could be alleviated through various means. Finally, interviewees highlighted that other clinic settings might be a more preferred setting for NRT than primary care. Findings are currently being used for the implementation of additional NRT interventions, and can also guide NRT adoption in other facilities.