Targeting the HIV Epidemic in South Africa: The Need for Testing and Linkage to Care in Emergency Departments

September 26, 2019
Authors: Bhakti Hansoti, et al
Organization: EClinical Medicine, the Lancet

This study builds on a 2018 study of emergency department patients in South Africa that found that HIV testing in emergency departments is an effective way to identify and diagnose otherwise hard-to-reach people with HIV.

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.  The key, according to the researchers, is case management:

“We already know that HIV testing in the ED is critical to achieving these targets, but testing alone is just not going to cut it,” says Hansoti. “Testing alone will help us reach that first 90% goal, but to get to the second and third 90%, we believe EDs need to play an active role in treatment initiation.” EDs also must initiate follow-up case management and link patients to care outside of the ED.”