Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients accept finger stick blood collection for point-of-care CD4 testing

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    INTRODUCTION HIV-infected patients require antiretroviral treatment for life. To improve access to care, CD4 enumeration and viral load tests have been redesigned to be used as point-of-care techniques using finger-stick blood. Accurate CD4 counting in capillary blood requires a free flowing blood drop that is achieved by blade incision. The aim of this study was to assess the attitude of the patients toward blade-based finger-stick blood donation. METHODS Four hundred and ninety-nine patients were included (299 patients from South Africa and 200 from Belgium). They completed a questionnaire to express their preference for finger stick or venipuncture, after undergoing both. The South African patient cohort was divided in two groups, receiving either single or multiple finger stick for CD4 and other HIV-related tests. The Belgian patients received a single finger stick for CD4 testing, and were asked to respond directly and again after two days. RESULTS The majority of the patients preferred the finger stick to the venipuncture. The perceived pain using the blade was superior to a small needle, but similar to a large needle. They preferred up to three finger sticks over one venipuncture. Up to 30% of the patients changed their mind over two days. The main reason for choosing a finger stick was continued bleeding after venipuncture. The most cited objection to finger stick was pain/soreness. CONCLUSION Patient perceptions support the implementation of donating capillary blood with bladebased finger stick during CD4 point-of-care testing.