Guide helps EDs implement HIV testing

The Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, has released an online guide to help EDs plan and implement HIV testing programs.

According to HRET, multiple approaches to HIV testing are being employed in hospital EDs across the United States; however, there are limited data about which approaches work best in different circumstances. HRET has developed the guide for clinicians and administrators who want to incorporate routine HIV testing in their EDs.

Based on interviews and site visits with EDs that have pioneered HIV testing, the guide outlines approaches, considerations, and resources for making HIV testing routine in ED care. It was developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which in September 2006 recommended voluntary HIV screening be a routine part of medical care. The guide helps health care providers overcome some of the barriers to routine HIV testing, including legal and reimbursement concerns.

"Emergency departments are the predominant point of care among patients who have limited access to care," said Gretchen Williams Torres, director of research at HRET. "ED-based testing can be a great opportunity to screen a wide population of patients who would not normally be tested."

The guide, which can be downloaded free of charge at www.edhivtestguide.org, includes topic areas that can be navigated using a drop-down menu. You may print sections or the entire guide. Each section contains links and information on additional resources. Sample menus are also provided to help first-time users get started.