Study objective The recently released HIV Care Continuum Initiative is a cornerstone of the National AIDS Strategy and a model for improving care for those living with HIV. To our knowledge, there are no studies exploring the entirety of the HIV Care Continuum for patients in the emergency department (ED). We determine gaps in the HIV Care Continuum to identify potential opportunities for improved care for HIV-infected ED patients. Methods A mixed-methods approach was used in 1 inner-city ED in 2007. Data elements were derived from an identity-unlinked HIV seroprevalence study, an ongoing nontargeted HIV screening program, and a structured survey of known HIV-positive ED patients. Results Identity-unlinked testing of 3,417 unique ED patients found that 265 (7.8%) were HIV positive. Of patients testing HIV positive, 73% had received a previous diagnosis (based on self-report, chart review, or presence of antiretrovirals in serum), but only 61% were recognized by the clinician as being HIV infected (based on self-report or chart review). Of patients testing positive, 43% were linked to care, 39% were retained in care, 27% were receiving antiretrovirals, 26% were aware of their receiving antiretroviral treatment, 22% were virally suppressed, and only 9% were self-aware of their viral suppression. Conclusion To our knowledge, this study is the first to quantify gaps in HIV care for an ED patient population, with the HIV Care Continuum as a framework. Our findings identified distinct phases (ie, testing, provider awareness of HIV diagnosis, and linkage to care) in which the greatest opportunities for intervention exist, if appropriate resources were allocated. This schema could serve as a model for other indolent treatable diseases frequently observed in EDs, where continuity of care is critical.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine