Bookmark and Share

Pushing for Routine HIV Testing

When Bijal Shah was in medical school at Emory, she took a year off to work in India with a doctor who had been taking care of HIV patients for two decades.

She saw the impact a devoted physician could have. So when Shah had the chance to make a difference, she took it.

Following a recommendation from the CDC that all patients in acute care settings ages 13 to 64 should be tested for HIV, regardless of their chief complaint or risk profile, she decided to make HIV testing routine at Grady. "One of the reasons this is so important is that it destigmatizes the idea of an HIV test," says Shah, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Emory.

Shah is on a team that works at 13 sites in the Grady Health System, including the emergency department, the walk-in clinic, and six neighborhood clinics.

Since the routine testing program began, more than 80,000 patients have been tested, resulting in about 500 new HIV diagnoses.

"It's just really a matter of treating patients as if they're your family," she says.

Email the editor