Screening Adults for HIV Testing in the Outpatient Department: An Assessment of Tool Performance in Malawi

Corrina Moucheraud, Risa M. Hoffman, Kelvin Balakasi, Vincent Wong, Maria Sanena, Sundeep Gupta, Kathryn Dovel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about screening tools for adults in high HIV burden contexts. We use exit survey data collected at outpatient departments in Malawi (n = 1038) to estimate the sensitivity, specificity, negative and positive predictive values of screening tools that include questions about sexual behavior and use of health services. We compare a full tool (seven relevant questions) to a reduced tool (five questions, excluding sexual behavior measures) and to standard of care (two questions, never tested for HIV or tested > 12 months ago, or seeking care for suspected STI). Suspect STI and ≥ 3 sexual partners were associated with HIV positivity, but had weak sensitivity and specificity. The full tool (using the optimal cutoff score of ≥ 3) would achieve 55.6% sensitivity and 84.9% specificity for HIV positivity; the reduced tool (optimal cutoff score ≥ 2) would achieve 59.3% sensitivity and 68.5% specificity; and standard of care 77.8% sensitivity and 47.8% specificity. Screening tools for HIV testing in outpatient departments do not offer clear advantages over standard of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-486
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Health systems
  • HIV testing
  • Malawi
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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