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Identifying Emergency Room Patients Who Have Recently Been Infected With HIV

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Identifier:
First received: January 17, 2000
Last updated: September 8, 2008
Last verified: January 2005

The purpose of this study is to identify patients who have early HIV infection. Patients who have been infected with HIV recently may develop flu-like symptoms within 3 to 8 weeks. Those who go to the hospital emergency room for these symptoms and who may have been exposed to HIV recently will be given a questionnaire and the opportunity to be tested for HIV.

Most people develop flu-like symptoms shortly after becoming infected with HIV, and many of these people go to a hospital emergency room for treatment. However, most doctors do not think of testing people with flu-like symptoms for HIV. This study will look at a plan to change this because it is very important to identify patients who have early HIV infection. Viral load (level of HIV in the blood) is very high during early HIV infection, and it is easy to spread HIV to others during this period. Patients who learn they are HIV-positive can stop risky behavior that might spread HIV to other people. Also, patients who find out early that they are HIV positive are able to begin anti-HIV treatment sooner, slowing the disease.

HIV Infections

Study Type: Observational
Official Title: Increasing Identification of Patients With Primary HIV Infection (PHI) Through a Questionnaire Intervention in an Emergency Department (ED) Setting

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID):

Estimated Enrollment: 200
Detailed Description:

Early identification of HIV infection is an important factor in preventing the spread of HIV. It is hoped that patients who learn their HIV status will decrease behavior that may lead to further transmission of HIV. Infectiousness of HIV is high during PHI, with some of the highest viral loads seen shortly after infection. Treatment for HIV infection now typically begins after identification of infection, but treatment during PHI may positively affect the long-term outcome of the disease. The majority of patients present with flu-like symptoms during PHI. Many seek medical attention, often in an ED setting, but rarely is the diagnosis of HIV considered. Specific screening efforts, therefore, are needed to identify infected individuals before standard ELISA testing would detect infection. This study attempts to demonstrate that administration of a questionnaire to a targeted population presenting symptomatically with viral syndrome in an inner city ED will result in increased screening for HIV and identification of patients with PHI.

Patients presenting to the UCSD ED with viral syndromes are approached by staff and asked to complete a questionnaire regarding possible recent HIV exposure. Patients with risk for recent HIV infection are offered participation in this study. Pre-test counseling includes a review of: (1) the risk of discrimination if the test is positive, (2) the implications of a positive test upon the health of the patient and that of their sexual or needle-use partners, and (3) the possibility that this test, like any laboratory test, could be wrong. Consenting patients have blood drawn for HIV RNA testing and for possible HIV p24 antigen confirmatory test. Blood is labeled with a unique identifying number and not by name. When results become available, patients go the UCSD Treatment Center to learn the results and for post-test counseling.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria

Patients may be eligible for this study if they:

  • Are at least 18 years old.
  • Have never tested positive for HIV.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00001130

United States, California
San Diego, California, United States, 92103
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Principal Investigator: Susan Little
Principal Investigator: Dale Lieu
  More Information Identifier: NCT00001130     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: AIEDRP AI-05-009
Study First Received: January 17, 2000
Last Updated: September 8, 2008

Keywords provided by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID):
Antibodies, Viral
Emergency Service, Hospital

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
HIV Infections
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Lentivirus Infections
Retroviridae Infections
RNA Virus Infections
Virus Diseases
Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
Immune System Diseases
Slow Virus Diseases
Disease Attributes
Pathologic Processes processed this record on September 21, 2017