Pilot testing of an online training module about screening for acute HIV infection in adult patients seeking urgent healthcare

Rafferty H, Chirro O, Oduor C, Wahome E, Ngoi C, van der Elst E, Berger R, Rowland-Jones S, Graham SM, Sanders EJ
Int Health. 2019;11

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BACKGROUND: Acute HIV infection (AHI) is the phase of HIV infection immediately after acquisition, during which many patients develop symptoms and often seek healthcare. However, clinicians in sub-Saharan Africa are not currently taught about AHI. METHODS: This study pilot-tested a self-directed AHI training module among clinical officers (COs) in coastal Kenya and assessed knowledge gained and challenges to instituting screening. The training module included four domains: AHI definition and importance of AHI recognition; symptoms and screening algorithms; diagnostic strategies; and management. AHI knowledge was assessed before and immediately after training. Participants' ability to utilize an AHI screening algorithm was evaluated with a case-based exercise. RESULTS: Self-directed training was completed by 45 COs. Pre-test scores were low (median score 35% IQR 30-45%), but improved significantly after training (median post-test score 75%, IQR 70-85%, Wilcoxon signed-rank test p<0.0001). Participants had challenges in understanding the utility and application of a screening algorithm to identify patients for whom AHI testing would be indicated. Knowledge of AHI was poor at baseline, but improved with self-directed learning. Based on these findings, we revised and improved the AHI training module and pre- and post-assessments, which are now freely available online at www.marps-africa.org. CONCLUSIONS: Guidelines on AHI screening and diagnosis are urgently needed in high HIV transmission areas.