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An HIV point of care, also known as a "rapid" test, is a means for screening for HIV in which pre-test counseling, blood testing, and delivery of results all occur withing one clinic visit. Additional confirmatory testing may be required as well. This is in contrast to standard HIV testing in which counseling and drawing of blood happen during one visit and the delivery of results happen during another.
The point of care test is preferable to many because it does away with the stressful waiting period being the first and second visits. However, an important difference to note is that the point of care test is more likely to result in the patient having a false-positive reported to them. This is where the additional confirmatory testing comes in. In standard testing, false positives (which are common) are weeded out by the confirmatory tests before the patient returns for their results. With the point of care test, results are given to the patient and the confirmatory tests are performed afterward. This can leave some patients with the unnecessary stress of a false HIV diagnosis.
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