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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 07/29/99
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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First Year Results Show Pomise for HIV Early Intervention Program

Cincinnati—In July 1998, the University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center started the HIV Early Intervention and Prevention Program as a partnership between the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine. Supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control, this program provides counseling and testing for the early intervention and prevention of the HIV virus for patients from the Emergency Department of University Hospital and Psychiatric Emergency Services who are diagnosed with sexually transmitted disease (STD), pelvic inflammatory disease, or substance abuse problems.

"During the past year, this program has provided counseling to more than 1800 people in Cincinnati," says Alexander Trott, MD, professor of emergency medicine. Of those counseled, 1100 were tested for HIV, and eight were identified as HIV-positive.

The focus of the program is to provide direct counseling aimed at prevention of HIV and to make newly infected individuals aware of their condition early. "With early detection and treatment infection, the HIV virus infection can be controlled so that it never progresses to full blown AIDS," says Trott. "Early detection can empower the HIV-positive patient to prevent the spread of the virus as well," says Carol S. Thomas, RN, program coordinator. "All high risk patients identified are counseled and given suggestions on how to modify their high risk behaviors in order to prevent getting STDs or HIV," says Thomas. The program also provides testing and counseling for patients diagnosed with syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. All test recipients were offered post-test counseling.

The counseling team includes a registered nurse, a physician, and seven specially trained medical students. The counseling services are available from 8:00 a.m. until midnight seven days a week, and emotional support is also provided.

An important function of this program is to provide immediate evaluation and treatment for those patients who test positive for HIV. "The day that results are given, the patient is escorted to the Infectious Diseases Clinic, and further tests are done to evaluate the patient's general health and HIV quantification, " says Thomas. It is thought that this type of intervention will result in greater patient compliance with treatment protocols.

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