SMHS to lead initiative to remove barriers to HIV and COVID screening

Media Credit: Grace Hromin | Senior Photo Editor

The initiative aims to address the non-inclusive language that LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people may face.

The GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences will lead an education initiative for primary care practitioners to improve communication about HIV and COVID-19 for vulnerable patients.

SMHS received funding from biotechnology company Gilead Sciences to train primary care practitioners over the next 18 months to engage in “culturally responsive” conversations about HIV and COVID screening and testing with patients who identify as LGBTQ+ and Black, Indigenous People of Color. The Two In One HIV + COVID Screening & Testing Model aims to create better relationships between patients and health care officials to lessen the negative stigma surrounding HIV and COVID screening.

The model hopes to eliminate “discomfort” from patients when talking about the risks and barriers to care patients face when dealing with HIV and COVID.

“Our goal is to make COVID and HIV screening and testing a natural part of every primary care visit in ways that meet the cultural needs of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+/Queer patients,” officials said on the website.

The Two In One Model encourages people who identify as BIPOC and LGBTQ+ to share their personal experience with receiving clinical care for HIV or COVID on the Two In One Model website to receive a $30 Amazon gift card.

The training for primary care providers will be broken into two parts with nine live-streamed monthly lectures and an asynchronous module-based training course. The training will cover history and context about HIV and COVID inequalities among BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

The Two In One Model comprises three elements: research in the experiences of primary care providers and patients, training primary care providers using the research gained from patient and care provider interviews, and social marketing the main ideas gathered from the initiative.

“What we learn from this research will help remove the barriers that primary care practitioners face in providing the best possible HIV and COVID screening and testing,” officials said.

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