Thursday, August 9, 2012

HIV Testing in the ER- A Good Start

I have blogged before about the need for aggressive HIV testing to identify the 200,000+ Americans who are infected yet unaware of the diagnosis.

The University of Alabama Birmingham is putting theory into practice. Here is an article in Infection Control Today reporting on the UAB experience on HIV testing in the ER. Over the last year, their ER has performed 20,000 HIV tests and has diagnosed 31 new HIV infections. A novel twist in the story is that that ER utilized new HIV testing methodology which allowed for diagnosis of chronic infection (antibody test) AND acute infection ( HIV antigen), by the  ARCHITECT HIV Ag/Ab Combo test. It is believed that about 10% of  HIV infections can be missed in high risk populations if only antibody testing is employed.

Per the American College of Physicians practice guidelines, HIV testing should be offered to all patients so testing in emergency rooms, an area of high patient volume, gets us one step closer towards identifying previously undiagnosed and untreated HIV infection.

With early diagnosis comes treatment and treatment is prevention.

1 comment: