For several years, Advocate Trinity has implemented a successful rapid HIV testing program in its emergency department, offering rapid HIV testing with OraQuick ADVANCE® to all people ages 13 to 64 that comes through the department.
The success of the HIV program led Advocate Trinity to expand its rapid testing efforts to include testing for hepatitis C. To this end, last October Advocate Trinity became one of the first hospitals in the country to launch a rapid hepatitis C testing program in its emergency department.
Now, all individuals older than 15 that enter the emergency room at Advocate Trinity are offered side-by-side rapid HIV and hepatitis C testing. Advocate Trinity also offers testing to friends and family in the waiting room and on a walk-in basis to anyone requesting a test. The program has been extremely well-received by both patients and hospital staff.
The rapid hepatitis test is conducted with a simple fingerstick procedure. Alternatively, if a patient is already getting a blood draw, he or she can use a drop of blood from the test tube forgoing the additional needle stick. To date, the hospital has received no refusals for the hepatitis C test. In fact — people have been seeking out the hospital to request testing.
“Rapid testing is ideal for an emergency department setting because we don’t lose patients before we have the opportunity to give them their results,” said Donna Sinclair, Health Education Coordinator, HIV/AIDS & Hepatitis C Prevention & Education, Advocate Trinity Hospital. “Many of the people with risk factors for hepatitis C are transient. And when they are coming through the emergency department, you don’t know when you will see that patient again.”
Advocate Trinity has successfully conducted more than 800 rapid OraQuick® HCV tests since implementing the program several months ago. Through rapid HCV testing, they have identified about eight or nine positive individuals to date.
As important, the program has also helped identify people who were aware of their hepatitis C positive status, but have never been linked to care.
“We have had people who know that they have hepatitis C, but have not sought out treatment or been connected to care,” said Sinclair. “Through the testing program, we have been able to identify these people, educate them about new treatments available, and link them to care.”
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