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U.S. News

Pennsylvania: Allegheny General Hospital Refines Emergency Room HIV Screening Program

June 27, 2011

Allegheny General Hospital has initiated a routine HIV screening program for most patients in its emergency department. AGH partnered with the Pennsylvania Expanded HIV Testing Initiative (PEHTI), part of CDC-funded national efforts to identify infections earlier by making the test part of routine health care.

AGH launched its program in December, and hospital staff members are refining the process. The test is offered to patients ages 13-64 in accordance with the recommendations of CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Those who decline receive information about HIV, the importance of testing and venues that offer it.


Results from the rapid oral fluid-based tests are given to patients before discharge. Patients with positive results are provided a confirmatory blood test and referral to AGH's Positive Health Clinic for the results, counseling and needed care.

In 2007, 32.3 percent of HIV diagnoses were made within a year of progression to AIDS, according to a CDC study of states with robust surveillance systems. Boosting the proportion of earlier diagnoses can help patients access more effective and less costly therapy, as well as prevent onward transmissions.

Allegheny County is second only to Philadelphia County among the highest-risk areas for HIV/AIDS in Pennsylvania, according to the state Department of Health.

"Over the years we've had so many people come through the Emergency Department and be diagnosed with late-stage AIDS," said Mary Gallagher, Positive Health's manager. "In many cases, the people were involved in medical care, but nobody ever tested them for HIV."

Back to other news for June 2011

Adapted from:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News on HIV Support and Care in Pennsylvania

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