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Dandachi D, Dang BN, Wilson Dib R, Friedman H, Giordano T. Knowledge of HIV Testing Guidelines Among US Internal Medicine Residents: A Decade After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Routine HIV Testing Recommendations. AIDS Patient Care and Stds. 2018 May 1; 32(5):175-180.
Ten years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended universal HIV screening, rates remain low. Internal medicine residents are the front-line medical providers for large groups of patients. We evaluated the knowledge of internal medicine residents about HIV testing guidelines and examined adherence to universal HIV testing in an outpatient setting. A cross-sectional survey of internal medicine residents at four residency programs in Chicago was conducted from January to March 2016. Aggregate data on HIV screening were collected from 35 federally qualified community health centers in the Chicago area after inclusion of an HIV testing best practice alert in patients' electronic medical records. Of the 192 residents surveyed, 130 (68%) completed the survey. Only 58% were aware of universal HIV screening and 49% were aware that Illinois law allows for an opt-out HIV testing strategy. Most of the residents (64%) ordered no more than 10 HIV tests in 6 months. The most frequently reported barriers to HIV testing were deferral because of urgent care issues, lack of time, and the perception that patients were uncomfortable discussing HIV testing. From July 2015 to February 2016, the average HIV testing adherence rate in the 35 health centers was 18.2%. More effort is needed to change HIV testing practices among internal medicine residents so that they will adopt this approach in their future clinical practice. Improving knowledge about HIV testing and addressing other HIV testing barriers are essential for such a successful change.