I think the HIV testing project is great! The ability to bring it to the forefront of our clinic staff and patient care is huge! The fact that HIV is now a chronic disease and no longer a death sentence, makes this project of paramount importance. It is especially important here because we treat a lot of patients who engage in IV drug use, who are homeless, etc. so this project is super important for our group.
– Registered Nurse, Santa Rosa Community Health
In April 2015, Santa Rosa Community Health welcomed a generous Expanded Testing Grant from the California Department of Public Health’s Office of AIDS. Our mandate was to implement universal/opt-out HIV testing at all of our nine diverse sites, including our dental clinic. We knew we had many hurdles to overcome, but we had faith, strong will, and resilient spirits. Creating health justice is not always easy, in fact sometimes it “feels like you’re drinking from a fire hose,” as one of our senior nurses would say. But at the end of the day, it is what we do best. It is who we are.
We faced many challenges along the way: competing priorities, inadequate and messy data, constraints on sharing data, staff changes, hiring freezes, insufficient time to train staff, imperfect electronic health systems, and even natural disaster!
Despite the challenges, we have achieved success! Our goal was to increase our HIV testing rates, but our mission was actually much larger. Our mission on this project was to implement opt-out HIV testing, and to increase staff and patient HIV education and offer life-extending quality care for our patients who tested HIV positive. We met many of our specific goals, though not all, but succeeded in that larger mission.
If you have any questions about our project or this toolkit, please contact Benjamin Leroi, Special Populations Grants Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Santa Rosa Community Health, we test everyone for HIV regardless of biological sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or health history. SRCH is committed to eradicating HIV from our communities and offers compassionate and collaborative care for those living with HIV. Modern medications have made HIV a chronic illness, not a death sentence! Know your health. Know your status.
– Description on SRCH patient video “We test everyone! Know your health, know your status.”