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
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
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.