Assessment of emergency department health care professionals' behaviors regarding HIV testing and referral for patients with STDs
AIDS Patient Care and STDs
The objective of this study was to evaluate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling, testing, and referral practices of emergency department health care professionals (i.e., medical doctors [MD], physician assistants [PA], nurse practitioners [NP], and registered nurses [RN]) for patients presenting with other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). All health care professionals from 10 emergency departments in a northeastern county were asked to complete an anonymous survey. The surveys were returned by 154 (41%) health care professionals (RN = 99, NP = 5, PA = 7, MD = 39, other = 4). The average years in practice were 11. Only 7% of respondents were certified to provide state mandated HIV pretest counseling (certification not required for MD). Respondents reported caring for an average of 13 patients per week with suspected STD. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported that they always or usually warn STD patients of their HIV risk, yet only 10% always or usually encouraged these patients to consent to HIV testing in their emergency department (RN = 7%, NP = 25%, PA = 0%, MD = 16%). Reasons for not offering HIV testing in their emergency department were follow-up concerns (51%), not certified to provide pretest/posttest counseling (45%), and too time consuming (19%). Twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated HIV testing was not available in their emergency department despite all hospital laboratories reporting HIV testing capability. Ninety-three percent of respondents were aware that confidential testing sites were available, but only 35% always or usually referred patients not tested in the emergency department elsewhere for testing. Emergency department health care professionals frequently fail to provide HIV counseling, testing, and/or referral for patients with suspected STD.
Fincher-Mergi, Melissa; Cartone, Kathy Jo; Mischler, Jean; Pasieka, Patricia; Lerner, E. Brooke; and Billittier, Anthony J., "Assessment of emergency department health care professionals' behaviors regarding HIV testing and referral for patients with STDs" (2002). Articles & Book Chapters. 401.