Know Your Status Campaign
A few years ago, NYS began a campaign to have annual HIV screening done in EDs. This was in response to the fact that more than 1 in ten people living with HIV, are not aware they have it. In compliance with that regulation, HIV testing became part of the screening process in both the ED Nursing and ED Provider notes. As stigma still exists surrounding HIV testing, it is important that we advocate for our patients and ensure they get tested.
What Do We Do About It?
We test! It's as simple as that! NYS regulation sets the expectation that HIV testing is part of routine care and is to be expected in the ED. The thought process is not "do you want to get tested?" Rather, it is "we will be testing you." Many regard the area surrounding SSUH to be one of the most under-tested areas in NY. It is our job, as advocates for our individual patients and the population as a whole, to get folks tested.
What Does a Positive Test Mean?
The initial result is a positive SCREENING test. Overall, this has relatively good sensitivity and specificity. However, confirmatory testing will be performed at the Core Lab. The initial reactive result should be considered positive and communicated to the patient. They should be counseled on proper precautionary behavior and appropriate follow-up steps until confirmatory results are available.
Follow Up Care
The Northwell Health Infectious Disease department personally follows any reactive tests. They will reach out to patients if a positive screening result occurs. They will ensure confirmatory testing and follow-up care. However, prior to discharge, the treating team at SSUH should provide the discharge instructions/referrals and counsel patients appropriately.