AIDS program makes routine HIV testing the norm.
In response to the New York State law that requires health care providers to offer HIV testing to all patients ages 13 through 64 in any health setting, the Bronx-based Adolescent AIDS Program (AAP) expanded its longstanding work promoting streamlined routine testing as a program that serves as a local and national resource for providers, young people living with HIV/AIDS, and those at risk for HIV infection. The AAP has worked to develop better ways to test and link these youth to care. A decade ago, the AAP created and tested ACTS (Advise, Consent, Test, Support), a streamlined approach to HIV counseling and testing that is relevant across the age span.
Consistent with CDC recommendations to routinize HIV testing in clinical settings, ACTS is an innovative approach to HIV counseling and testing that is proven to facilitate significant improvements in both clinical and community-based settings. It features a streamlined HIV counseling approach that can be delivered in a few minutes so that providers can feasibly integrate HIV testing into routine delivered care. Some of these more efficient approaches include
- Delivering results by phone or e-mail where patients may be reached confidentially, as nearly half do not return for their results and some consider a followup visit an additional disruption to their lives
- Planning in advance how to deliver positive results by having resource and referral information on hand and establishing counseling goals
- Utilizing existing provider skills for delivering serious clinical diagnosis (such as HIV infection or diabetes or cancer) and providing HIV-specific information to clinicians to ensure that they can confidently deliver an HIV-positive or -negative diagnosis.
Providers can download the "ACTS Pocket Guide" from the online toolkit to see how to advise, consent, test, and support in a matter of minutes. The Pocket Guide is part of the "ACTS Toolkit."
For more information on testing and counseling, medical and psychological services, research opportunities, community outreach efforts, youth-friendly resources nationwide, provider trainings, and access to free resources, follow this link.