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Taking the Best of the Rapid Testing in Labor and Delivery Project to Fresno, CA: Fresno Perinatal HIV Summit – October 26, 2011

“I learned that HIV patients are the same as other patients with chronic disease and need our attention and care.”

Despite successful uptake of initiatives to increase rapid testing in labor and delivery hospitals throughout California, several recent perinatal HIV transmission cases were identified in low-volume facilities in the state’s Central Valley – a five-county inland area between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This puzzled those working on a four-year Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center (PAETC)/California State Office of AIDS testing implementation project. The transmissions provided an opportunity to reach out to providers in the Central Valley with training, dialogue, and relevant tools.

“I now know we don’t need a separate written consent to test.”

Modeled after an East Bay Perinatal Summit that successfully reaches about 120 providers each year, and following several onsite trainings in the Central Valley, the Northern California Rapid Testing in Labor and Delivery (RTLD) group began planning a Fresno Perinatal HIV Summit. While the need for training and resources was apparent, the volume of response was unexpected – 85 clinicians signed up for the  three and-a-half hour event that included dinner, drinks, resources, networking opportunities and free CME for the course. The clinicians represented all surrounding counties and varied in HIV experience from expert to inexperienced. Nearly all participants reported providing care for women during pregnancy and/or labor.

“Now I can talk with my patients about sex, condom use and multiple partners.”

A resource table at theShannon Weber and Halley Cornell University of California, Fresno meeting site served as a congregation point for participants to network. Participants engaged with lectures through the audience response system on topics like testing disclosure best practices and contraception and safer conception options. Two HIV-positive moms shared their experience with testing and HIV care during and after pregnancy. Skits featuring RTLD faculty role-playing various testing scenarios were a highlight of the evening and provided concrete material for the question and answer sessions. Participants came away from the evening confident in their ability to provide high-quality testing and resources for their patients, and the majority of attendees who did not already have a testing implementation plan or discuss family planning options indicated they would be developing both in their practices.

“I will help my clients understand the importance of HIV testing and early testing.”

The Northern CA RTLD workgroup included participants from the Pacific AETC central office, the National HIV/AIDS Clinician’s Consultation Center’s Perinatal HIV Hotline, and UC Davis. The workgroup partnered with the Fresno AETC Local Performance Site (LPS). Potential participants were invited through both the Fresno AETC LPS and Northern CA RTLD workgroup networks, allowing the groups to cast a wide net. Presenters at the Summit included both Northern CA RTLD and Fresno AETC LPS faculty.

 “I will now incorporate preconception care and family planning into my discussions with patients.”

The Fresno Perinatal HIV Summit is a fantastic example of an LPS, Regional AETC and National AETC collaborating around a critical issue to fill a need in a provider community. The combination provided local expertise and cultural competency with a broader regional understanding of RTLD practice and information on nationally available services for implementation of the training objectives, such as readily available consultation on perinatal HIV and testing. The combined effort toward funding, planning, promotion and execution of the event resulted in a successful evening that would not have been possible without this broad collaboration.

“I will make sure all pregnant patients are routinely offered an HIV test.”

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