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COVID-19 and beyond: Lessons learned from emergency department HIV screening for population-based screening in healthcare settings.


Emergency departments (EDs) have played a major role in the science and practice of HIV population screening. After decades of experience, EDs have demonstrated the capacity to provide testing and linkage to care to large volumes of patients, particularly those who do not otherwise engage the healthcare system. Efforts to expand ED HIV screening in the United States have been accelerated by a collaborative national network of emergency physicians and other stakeholders called EMTIDE (Emergency Medicine Transmissible Infectious Diseases and Epidemics). As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, EDs nationwide are being tasked with diagnosing and managing COVID-19 in a myriad of capacities, adopting varied approaches based in part on know-how, local disease trends, and the supply chain. The objective of this article is to broadly summarize the lessons learned from decades of ED HIV screening and provide guidance for many analogous issues and challenges in population screening for COVID-19. Over time, and with the accumulated experience from other epidemics, ED screening should develop into an overarching discipline in which the disease in question may vary, but the efficiency of response is increased by prior knowledge and understanding.

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