The geography of emergency department-based HIV testing in South Africa: Can patients link to care?
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: Emergency Departments (EDs) can serve as clinical sites for identification of new HIV infections and their entry into care. We examined if HIV-positive patients who present to EDs in South Africa are able to successfully link to care.We conducted a one-year longitudinal prospective cohort study in four hospitals across the Eastern Cape, South Africa, with participants followed between July 2016 and July 2018. All adult, non-critical patients presenting to the ED were systematically approached, asked about their HIV status, and, if unknown, offered a point-of-care (POC) HIV test. All HIV-positive patients were further consented to participate in a follow-up study to assess subsequent linkage to care and distance from “home” to ED. Linkage to care was defined as self-reported linkage (telephonic) or evidence of repeated CD4/viral load testing in the National Health Laboratory System (NHLS) at either the 6- or 12-months post index ED visit.