CHICAGO – With declines in clinical visits for HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other evidence-based preventive services in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Medical Association (AMA) today announced a new initiative aimed at helping physicians and other health care professionals increase routine screenings for HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis and latent tuberculosis (LTBI).
As part of this effort, the AMA, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), worked to understand key barriers and drivers for implementing routine screening and developed a toolkit to provide best practices and strategies to enhance screening programs. The AMA is collaborating with the following community health center sites that will test the quality improvement strategies outlined in the toolkit to determine their impact on routine screening, as well as provide overall feedback on the toolkit before it is disseminated more broadly:
- CCI Health Services, Silver Spring, MD
- Circle the City, Phoenix, AZ
- Esperanza Health Centers, Chicago, IL
- Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, Jackson, MS
- Odyssey House Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
- Outreach Health Services, Inc, Shubuta, MS
"Routine screening and early detection of HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis, and LTBI are critical to ensure patients receive treatment and also lower their risk of transmitting these infectious diseases to others," said AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., M.D. "Given that access to preventive services were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals may not even be aware they have an infection and are at risk of contributing to new infections. We know that social inequities and stigma continue to be barriers to screening. We believe this new toolkit will help increase screenings and prevent further spread of these infectious diseases. Additionally, with the monkeypox virus outbreak declared a public health emergency, the overlap in populations disproportionally affected, and the benefits of a syndemic approach, we look forward to the opportunity to work with the clinic sites in addressing this public health threat.”
“Getting diagnosed before an infection causes serious illness should be the norm—not the exception,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “Routine screening saves lives, increases health equity, and reduces health care costs. This AMA-CDC collaboration supports evidence-based strategies to effectively and efficiently scale up routine screening.”
The AMA has extensive policy supporting evidence-based preventive services, including screening for these infectious diseases. We recognize that routine universal screening helps protect not only individual patients, but the health of the public. The AMA is a Dissemination and Implementation partner of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and also supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative focused on Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.
This effort is supported by the CDC of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of CDC-RFA-OT18-1802: Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health with award totaling $999,696 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.
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