Public Health

HIV, STIs, Viral Hepatitis and LTBI Routine Screening Toolkit: Education and post-test counseling


Step 1: Community outreach | Step 2: Patient intake | Step 3: Initiating standard screening protocols |

Step 4: Testing and diagnosis | Step 5: Patient education and post-test counseling | Step 6: Linkage to care

Educating and engaging patients in their care is a critical consideration for how to implement an effective routine screening program. However, lack of staff training or knowledge on infectious disease control contributes to the uneven division of labor, reduces the likelihood of routine screening and can cause missteps in follow up and linkage to care.

Clinicians are often left with the burden of calling the patient back to counsel on positive results in addition to their demanding clinical workload. Some clinicians who lack counseling skills may be intimidated by sharing positive results and thus may skip routine screening all together. Empowering every member of the care team with education and equipping the care team with health coach training can help overcome these concerns.

  • Knowledge gaps exist across members of the care team who may not know the steps to take or the latest HIV or STI treatments 
  • Access to patient-centric material to distribute is needed
  • Patients do not understand the behaviors associated with HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis or LTBI, especially if they do not identify with the stereotypical population disproportionately affected 
  • Additional training on how to provide sensitive counseling of post-test results is needed
  • Time for clinicians and staff members to effectively communicate results and counsel with respect to the patient’s privacy needs to be allocated
  1. Empower every member of the care team with education 

    1. Providing in-depth, disease-specific education sessions for every member of the care team on the need for routine screening and how to conduct it, engenders greater empathy for the patient and boosts confidence to answer questions rather than deferring to the lead clinician. 
    2. Related resources

    3. Training and education for the care team on HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis and LTBI essentials: The following links are a compilation of education and training resources from the CDC targeted to health care professionals. These training materials can be leveraged to equip your care team members with the latest information to help boost the confidence of any member of the care team in answering patient questions.
    4. Public Health Department directories: This resource from the CDC outlines who is working to protect the public’s health in your area, including senior health officials, state, local, and territorial health departments, and tribes and Indian organizations. Clinical staff may need to develop relationships with staff in various sections of health departments in order to facilitate reporting, linkage to care or prevention and other critical services.
  2. Have patient education materials available at visit completion

    1. Having patient friendly education materials at discharge is important piece of patient care. Patients should be provided with information about the communicable nature of these infections and consider options for notifying others that were potentially exposed. 
    2. Related resources

    3. Patient Education Materials from the CDC: These links compile downloadable patient education materials from the CDC with resources targeted to different patient demographics and available in multiple languages.  
    4. JAMA Network™ Patient Pages: JAMA Patient Pages are free patient resources designed to distill high-quality evidence and updated guidance from USPSTF into a more accessible patient friendly format to help guide patient decisions. These resources can also be helpful to reference as your clinic or institution develops their own patient-friendly educational resources.
    5. HIV
    6. Viral hepatitis
    7. STIs
    8. LTBI
    9. AMA telementoring session video clip: During this telementoring session focused on patient education materials at the conclusion of the visit, Cabell Jonas, PhD shares how the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group has improved patient education around HCV.
  3. Equip staff with skills to communicate more effectively with patients 

    1. In the absence of patient navigators, investing in training and training for the care team on counseling and cultural safety or structural competence can help staff develop skills to communicate more effectively with patients, leading to increased comfort with counseling patients on results.
    2. Related resources

Disclaimer: This page contains resources supplied by third party organizations. Inclusion of these materials on this page does not imply endorsement of these resources or corresponding organization.

The HIV, STIs, Viral Hepatitis and LTBI Routine Screening Toolkit is organized across the screening continuum and offers helpful resources and best practices for the care team.