HIV Testing to Emergency Department Patients | News | Loyola Medicine
Friday, June 26, 2015

Loyola offers free HIV testing to Emergency Department patients

MAYWOOD, IL (June 26, 2015) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three in 10 new HIV infections come from people who have it and don’t know it. To raise awareness for the importance of this potentially deadly infectious disease, June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. 

Funded by a CDC research grant, in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH),  and the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, patients in the Loyola University Health System (LUHS) Emergency Department and select immediate care centers are routinely offered a free HIV test.  

 “Almost 5,500 patients were clinically tested for HIV at Loyola with 13 testing positive for the infectious disease,” says Jerry Goldstein, research coordinator, LUHS. 

Loyola offers HIV screening to everyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who come to the Emergency Department or immediate care centers in Burr Ridge, River Forest, and Homer Glen. Primary care physicians also screen their patients for HIV.  

Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to be diagnosed with HIV infection late in the course of their disease, which may mean a later start to treatment, possibly causing more damage to their immune system. This can lead to poorer prognoses and shorter HIV-to-AIDS intervals.

“Offering an HIV screening is truly symbolic of the academic level standard of care for Loyola patients,” says Goldstein. Patients who are diagnosed with HIV are referred to Loyola’s HIV clinic for treatment.  

The HIV clinic has been treating patients at Loyola for more than two decades. The Student Training in Approach to Research program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine supported the initial pilot for free HIV testing at Loyola in 2011. Training and support for the grant is provided by the Midwest AIDS+Education Training Center. The program also receives a CDC Care and Prevention in the United States grant.  

In 2013, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force gave a level A recommendation to screen for HIV in adolescents and adults, understanding the importance of early identification of infection and the role that the Emergency Department can provide in the process. 

Loyola University Health System is recognized internationally as a leader in infection control and prevention. Loyola is one of a few select hospitals who invest in universal screening of all inpatients for MRSA. Loyola was one of the first institutions to require all staff to have mandatory flu shots as a condition of employment. Loyola was the only academic hospital to participate in a national C. difficile study and performs the most accurate testing for bacteria. Loyola also actively screens emergency department patients for HIV/AIDS as part of an ongoing research study.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.