Implementation of Routine HIV Testing in an Acute Care Hospital in Rhode Island: A Nurse-Initiated Opt-Out Pilot Project

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Abstract

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded HIV screening of adults ages 13–64 years in 2006 from risk based to routine. Early detection and treatment improve patient outcomes and prevent disease transmission. This article describes a pilot program in which nurses in an adult inpatient unit at an acute care hospital offer HIV testing to all patients ages 18–64 upon admission through standing orders. The pilot, Standing Orders for Routine Testing (SORT), is a response to changes in state law and regulations in the majority of states including Rhode Island, which have occurred following the CDC policy change. The SORT pilot involves collaboration with interdisciplinary partners and education of unit nurses.

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