Tony Falvo
Counseling, Testing and Linkage Program Coordinator
Florida Department of Health, Bureau of HIV/AIDS, Early Intervention Section.
Issues: Ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations surrounding waived testing. Developing data collection tools and collaborating with the bureau of laboratories to ensure lab standards are met. Developing a system for processing confirmatory specimens and resolving discordant test results. Converting OraSure testing sites to a blood-based, waived testing program. Incorporation of rapid testing in a wide variety of settings, designed to target high-risk individuals and development of a new model for quality assurance. Stressing confidential versus anonymous rapid testing
Description: The Florida Department of Health has worked with county health departments, jails, substance abuse treatment centers, CBOs, hospitals, mobile testing units and STD clinics to implement rapid testing in a wide variety of settings, while maintaining a high level of quality assurance.
Lessons Learned: Having a strong partnership with the lab, and developing a systems process for tracking rapid testing data is essential to a successful program. Continuous work is needed with field staff to ensure appropriate quality assurance practices are maintained. Education is needed for the general testing community about the difference between waived testing and the collection of specimen samples. Rapid testing sells itself as a viable means for convincing clients to test confidentially who might otherwise only test anonymously.
Recommendations: Develop a systems process for ensuring the collection of all appropriate data and design a new algorithm with the lab prior to implementation. Set standards for quality assurance, and monitor sites closely after implementation to encourage good practices.

Last Update: April 8, 2005