Posted: March 23, 2017

The Novel Use of Medical Students for Rapid Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing in an Urban Academic Emergency Department


Undergraduate medical education on HIV/AIDS has relied primarily on lectures regarding the disease itself, its progression, and prevention and therapeutic strategies. Historically, little time has been devoted to the screening process, counseling newly positive patients, and linkage to definitive anti-retroviral care. This program utilizing Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU-SOM) preclinical medical students to approach and test patients for HIV at Detroit Receiving Hospital's Emergency Department (DRH-ED) a busy, urban ED, was designed to bridge the aforementioned educational gap. During assigned shifts, students screened charts to determine eligibility based on age, chief complaint, medical history, and last known HIV test. Students conducted pre-test patient interviews, performed and interpreted the test, and communicated results to the patient. In the case of a new positive result, students completed the additional confirmatory testing, provided initial counseling to the patient, and completed the Infectious Diseases referral to ensure linkage to definitive care. Students also focused on counseling patients, condom usage, and providing information about early HIV prevention and intervention services such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) offered by the institution.


HIV, Pre-Clinical, Emergency Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Emergency Department, Counseling, HIV Screening


Keith Alangaden, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Benjamin Eilender, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Michael VanAntwerp, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Bethany Foster, MPH, Wayne State University Department of Emergency Medicine

Jennifer Mendez, PhD, Wayne State University School of Medicine