Elaine Tran

Elaine Tran HIV Prevention

The most exciting part of my PHAP assignment has been my work as a disease intervention specialist (DIS). In this role, I have been charged with performing outreach testing for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea at community sites throughout Columbus, Ohio. To become a DIS, I trained in phlebotomy and got certified in HIV counseling, testing, and referral. I also perform surveillance and follow-up for positive cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Each day, I put on my blue lab coat, pack my orange bag with my specimen collection supplies, lug my cooler with biohazard stickers on the outside, and go to a different site. These sites range from homeless shelters and recreation centers to faith-based organizations and thrift stores. I enjoy working one-on-one with each client who comes through for testing—whether they are there for a routine check or a first visit and have no idea what HIV stands for. I see myself as a resource for the people who test with me. In the little time I have with each client, my goal is to get to know them, provide them education, and refer them to services, either for sexual health or just general public health. I love doing this work and interacting with such a diverse mix of people.

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