Presentation Title

HIV and HCV Prevalence Among Patients Tested at Rural Sites of a Multi-site FQHC

Abstract

The absence of healthcare facilities in rural areas is a major barrier for those afflicted with HIV and other chronic conditions/diseases. Southside Medical Center is a multi-site FQHC, 2 of which are located in rural areas of Georgia, at which routine opt-out testing has been used to identify people who have HIV and/or HCV in these rural communities.

Proposal Summary

Background: According to a literature review conducted in 2013 to assess the barriers of HIV+ people living in rural areas, the absence of healthcare facilities in these areas is a major barrier for those who have with HIV. The same can also be said for other chronic and/or infectious illnesses, such as diabetes, HCV, and heart disease. Southside Medical Center is a FQHC that has 11 sites, 2 of which are located in rural areas of Georgia (Jackson, GA and Griffin, GA), where there is a major absence of healthcare facilities. After acquiring an opt-out testing grant, SMC began routine testing of patients for HIV and HCV at these rural sites. This is the first step in identification, then treatment, of those afflicted with these conditions. Purpose: The purpose of this abstract is to assess the prevalence of HIV and HCV positive patients at SMC) sites located in rural communities over a 2-year period. Methods/practice: By assessing the prevalence of HIV+ and HCV+ cases at SMC rural sites, the poster will show: 1. Comparisons between HIV and HCV prevalence rates 2. Prevalence of patients co-infected with HIV and HCV 3. Linkage to care rates for both HIV and HCV patients 4. Comparisons regarding the number of patients tested, prevalence rates, and linkage to care rates between 2016 and 2017. Conclusions/Results: In 2016, at the 2 rural SMC sites, 296 and 293 patients were tested for HIV and HCV, respectively. Three (1.01%) HIV+ and 37 HCV (12.6%) patients were identified. Additionally, 1 patient was coinfected with HIV and HCV. In 2017, at the 2 rural SMC sites, 507 and 3,728 patients were tested for HIV and HCV, respectively. Four (0.79%) HIV+ and 19 HCV (0.51%) patients were identified. Two patients were coinfected with HIV and HCV. Regarding linkage to care, 100% and 89.2% of patients tested for HIV and HCV, respectively, were linked to care in 2016 compared to 100% and 94.7% in 2017. From 2016 to 2017, the number of patients tested increased for both HIV and HCV. Linkage to care was maintained for HIV patients and increased for HCV patients. Over the last 3 years, SMC has worked at improving access to care and provision of care for underserved populations. This includes, acquiring sites in rural areas to bring affordable and quality healthcare to people in these areas. Efforts such as Telemedicine, educated and dedicated staff, low support staff turnover, opt-out HIV testing, and more recently, acquisition of Ryan White funds, has and/or will result in more patients being linked to and remaining in care. Implications for Practice: By implementing opt-out testing in rural areas, SMC has found an effective strategy for identification and treatment of new HIV+ and HCV cases. Further education is needed to prevent people from contracting and/ or transmitting these infections in these rural areas.

Relevance And Significance

Southside Medical Centers use of opt-out testing to identify HIV+ and HCV patients at its 2 rural locations, as well as, the data suggesting high rates of linkage to care at these sites, is an example of a strategy used to improve access, retention, and care in rural areas.

Session Format

Poster Session

Keywords

HIV, HCV, linkage to care, opt-out testing

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 21st, 5:30 PM Sep 21st, 7:30 PM

HIV and HCV Prevalence Among Patients Tested at Rural Sites of a Multi-site FQHC

The absence of healthcare facilities in rural areas is a major barrier for those afflicted with HIV and other chronic conditions/diseases. Southside Medical Center is a multi-site FQHC, 2 of which are located in rural areas of Georgia, at which routine opt-out testing has been used to identify people who have HIV and/or HCV in these rural communities.