Liveblog: FOCUS: Using Social and Mobile to Normalize HIV Testing

In 2010, Gilead launched the HIV FOCUS program (HIV on the Frontlines of Communities in the United States) to support CDC-recommended routine HIV screening as a standard of care. The goal of the project is to reduce the number of people who don’t know their status and change public perception about HIV. HIV FOCUS operates in 10 cities. Hear from some of the FOCUS partners from Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Houston today about how they are integrating technology into their work.

Boldly Using Technology to Implement & Change the Culture around Routine HIV Screening Sin Verguenza (without shame)

Angel Rosario, Clinic Testing Supervisor

AltaMed – we have been providing clinic services for 40 years to underserved communities of Southern California – primary care, dental clinics, senior care, disease management, health ed, youth services, childhood obesity, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse. 25 clinic sites. 73% of our patients earn less than $44K for a family of 4. 27% of our patients have no insurance. 81% are latino.

Routine testing goals – systemize routine HIV testing across 22 sites located in Southern California based on 2006 CDC revised recommendations.

3 pilot sites – tested 8,013 patients (which is only 6.6% of those who got care during the pilot period) / identified 28 hiv positive clients.

We implemented HIV Screen as a default in our EHR whenever a patient got bloodwork.

We also made flyers & other materials to post int he clinic.

We had to change our staff culture – get support from senior leaders, fit it into clinic workflows & get comfort with procedures, staff training (it turned out a lot of our staff did not actually know about HIV), more patient education on routine testing policies & HIV risk.

We used a Learning Management System (LMS) to create video training modules for our staff – HIV Services Overview, HIV 101, Universal HIV Testing, how to deliver a positive result, LGBT cultural sensitivity —> all clinical staff were required to complete this as part of their yearly training.

We made our EHR prompt assistants to ask about testing, then tell us when patients declined with an assistant, then had a provider ask them again as providers are better at convincing patients to do this.  We used an ad on Altamed’s default EHR desktop to let providers know about this change.

Sin Verguenza – can mean shameless or “I have no shame” – the heart of this initiative.  Develop a culturally competent education tool to disseminate HIV prevention messages in a way that engaged these communities in conversations about HIV & routine screening to increase HIV testing.  A novela – which is a soap opera.

Watch it here (part 1 of 4)

Using Social & Mobile Media to Normalize HIV Testing Among Teens

Ruth S Buzi & Peggy B Smith – Baylor College of Medicine, Teen Health Clinic

About Baylor Teen Health Clinic – we integrated HIV & STD testing, HIV tests increased 10 fold; we’ve also done outreach to young men and been very successful in getting more of them to test.

Possible Solution to deal with stigma associated with testing – youth use technology  very often, maybe we can use tech to reduce the stigma around testing & answer questions!

A comprehensive website provides science-based information on HIV & sites for testing.

Ask Tiff, an avatar on our website, allows teens to submit queries – most are related to cost, parental consent, and confidentiality.

Text Messages – Updates on HIV are sent weekly (160 characters) – example: “Today is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Know your status, stay safe, & have a great spring break.” – we mix in non HIV related messages to boost retention – teens texted us when sent text asked for feedback and told us they found it useful.

Facebook page –

Twitter – @BCMTeenClinic

we used to have MySpace / Hi5 . . .

Webisodes were produced to communicate messages about HIV prevention – Caught Off Guard –

Used presence on Mingle2 & OKCupid to incentivize testing.

66.7% claimed in online survey they were very likely to change their attitudes – many texted and asked for clinic address/info etc.

Next Steps – renew website with input from clients. add second avatar, “Ask Ty,” to encourage questions from males. Add new social media sites. Work on new Webisodes. Continue to evaluate impact of initiatives.


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