Posted: June 2, 2017

The CARE Initiative routine HIV screening in an emergency department requires multidisciplinary collaboration to improve public health outcomes


Savannah has the 2nd highest rate of HIV infection in Georgia. Memorial Health University Medical Center (MHUMC) is the region's only safety net hospital and provides care for urban to rural populations in 32 counties. Our ED (emergency department) serves 100,000 patients annually, over 1/3 of whom are underinsured, and many patients use the ED for primary care needs. From 2014-2015, 3% of patients tested HIV-positive at MHUMC. Repetitive ED visits for secondary complications in undiagnosed HIV-positive patients is costly for the healthcare system. Therefore, we created the CARE Initiative program to routinely screen patients for HIV. Implementation involved multidisciplinary collaboration from medical students, healthcare professionals, data scientists, and outside leadership. We have tested over 9,000 patients, diagnosed 49 patients, 25 of whom were new diagnoses. We plan to continue broadening the program to train medical students and family practice residents in HIV care.


HIV, Faculty Development, Health Disparities, Routine Screening, Access to care


Caitlin Gardner, MSc, Memorial Health University Medical Center

Bonzo Reddick, MD, MPH, Memorial Health University Medical Center

Jean Wiggins, BSPH, Memorial Health University Medical Center