LA AETC increases Routine HIV/HCV Screening in Los Angeles County by hundreds of thousands.
The LA AETC has helped scores of individual clinics increase routine HIV/HCV screening over the past 12 years since the CDC developed new routine opt-out guidelines and California changed consent laws.
We began with the largest, 11-site federally qualified health center (FQHC), starting with provider trainings, re-developing policies and procedures, and re-educating staff and clinicians to rethink how they approach HIV testing. We also helped the organizations apply for the state and pharmaceutical support to expand and better focus their efforts through their electronic health records. Initially, in the first year, we saw many women identified with HIV who would have otherwise not have been tested. Some of these clinics even called us in an emergency situation to come and speak with the recently diagnosed to help them cope with a surprising diagnosis. Often patients and providers were comforted to hear from School of Medicine AETC faculty about the latest in testing and treatment to provide hope for those who were shocked by their diagnosis.
Over the decade since then, we have honed our capacity building and training skills to help more than 20 clinics in Los Angeles implement routine HIV screening, helping test more than 200,000 people and referring more than 1,000 into HIV care. We now can work through an implementation checklist with a new clinic that may be considering implementation, initiating training and technical assistance program that can provide on-going assistance to help them measure and achieve their goals over time. We then work with the HIV team to develop or enhance plans to improve retention and suppressed viral load.
The clinic we began training on routine HIV screening 12 years ago and now has 93% of their patients virally suppressed. Because of the AETC partnering with such clinics, those who would not have been identified before can start treatment immediately, can have normal lives, and will greatly reduce the chance of future infections in the community.