Chicago Hospital Continues Program Offering No-Cost HIV TestsAdvocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago will continue a program offering no-cost oral HIV tests to patients waiting to be seen in its emergency department, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The hospital launched the program in May 2008 with a $150,000 grant from CDC and received an additional $180,000 this year to continue the program.
According to the Sun-Times, Trinity offers the program to all ED patients between ages 14 and 64. Of the patients offered the test, less than 20% decline to take it, Donna Sinclair, HIV coordinator for the hospital's ED, said. Health workers administer the tests in a private area, and patients receive results in about 20 minutes. More than 5,000 people have taken the no-cost tests since the program's launch. However, data on the number of positive test results are not available, the Sun-Times reports.
According to the Sun-Times, Trinity's efforts are part of an "unusual program" aimed at encouraging more people to take HIV tests. "We don't wait for patients to come to us," Sinclair said, adding that Trinity's "health educators go to each patient awaiting treatment and provide them with a wealth of information -- everything from how the virus is spread, to who is at risk, to what they need to know about the test." According to Andrea Poicus, Trinity spokesperson, the hospital received funding for the program because it is located in an area with a high HIV prevalence. In addition, most of Trinity's patients are black, which is a group that has been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, the Sun-Times reports (Thomas, Chicago Sun-Times, 2/13). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.