Barriers and Facilitators to Routine HIV Testing: Perceptions from Massachusetts Community Health Center Personnel

Johnson, Carey V.; Mimiaga, Matthew J.; Reisner, Sari L.; VanDerwarker, Rodney; Mayer, Kenneth H.
November 2011
AIDS Patient Care & STDs;Nov2011, Vol. 25 Issue 11, p647
Academic Journal
Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended routine, voluntary HIV testing for persons aged 13-64 in all health care settings, including the elimination of separate informed consent, which remains in effect in five states including Massachusetts. Community health centers (CHCs) represent an important HIV testing site for at-risk populations. From April to December 2008 a qualitative interview was administered to one senior personnel from each of 30 CHCs in Massachusetts, to identify barriers and facilitators to implementing CDC recommendations and to elucidate strategies to improve routine HIV testing. The following themes emerged as routine HIV testing barriers: (1) provider time constraints, including time to administer counseling and separate informed consent; (2) lack of funding, staff, and space; (3) provider, patient, and community discomfort; (4) inconsistent levels of awareness regarding CDC recommendations; and (5) perceived incompatibility with Massachusetts HIV testing policy. Facilitators included designation of personnel to serve as organizational 'champions' for routine testing and use of clinical reminders within electronic medical records to prompt HIV testing. Strategies identified to improve routine HIV testing rates among Massachusetts CHCs included more explicit state-level guidelines; organizational buy-in; collaborative analysis to integrate testing within existing activities; and provider, patient and community education.


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