Correctional Institutions

As per CDC recommendations, HIV testing should be offered to all adults at any health care visit which would include health screenings routinely done during an inmate’s stay in a correctional facility.  Testing for HIV not only helps identify newly diagnosed HIV positive patients, leading to prompt initiation of vital treatment; it can also halt further transmission of the disease.

We realize that adding this task to your medical intake or usual screening procedures can be daunting, and we hope the answers below (HWA) to your potential questions will ease some of your concerns. For more information on correctional institutions performing routine HIV testing, click here

Concern:  How can we be sure that a patient has all of the information required to consent to a test?

HWA:  Per the revised CDC guidelines, prevention counseling (i.e. risk assessment and risk reduction planning) is no longer a prerequisite for HIV testing. However, Pennsylvania’s Act 148  requires that specific educational information be made available to the patient in pre-test counseling. We have developed brochures and other printed materials that provide information on HIV testing and fulfill the pre-test counseling requirement.  Most sites have found it helpful to give a brochure to every adult at medical intake, and the inmate can indicate consent at that time.  You can choose to perform the testing then or call the inmate back to medical at a later time. 

Concern:  How do inmates get their results?

HWA: Since notification of results must be done face-to-face, a process must be in place to insure that an inmate’s privacy is protected.  We can provide you with literature to help with giving results and post test education.   If an inmate’s result is positive, you may chose to give the patient the results yourself or call your local Department of Health to help with the process. Please remember that if you choose to give positive results yourself, the DOH must still be notified by law.  The DOH can help identify HIV/AIDS specialists and or agencies for the patient’s future care.  If you are already affiliated with a clinic that offers HIV care, you may continue to use their services.

Concern:  How much time will it add on to the intake process to do the testing?

HWA:  If the inmate is already having blood work done, an extra tube can be drawn for a blood ELISA test.  Otherwise, conventional testing takes as little as three minutes.

:  How will the cost of testing be covered?

HWA: We will cover any additional lab costs associated with expanded testing.