The Importance of HIV/STD Prevention Counseling

The Importance of HIV/STD Prevention Counseling

According to recent estimates, approximately 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and about 50,000 new HIV infections occur each year. “Reducing transmission remains a key part of HIV prevention,” says Yuko Mizuno, PhD. “To further reduce the spread of HIV, an increased emphasis must be placed on preventing transmissions among individuals who already have the infection.” Research shows that those who are aware of their HIV status are more likely to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their partners. Dr. Mizuno says that healthcare providers play an important role in offering critical health information and services to patients living with HIV. “In fact,” she says, “the CDC recommends that providers offer prevention counseling for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to all patients living with HIV during their routine clinic visits. Few studies, however, have explored what percentage of people in the U.S. who are living with HIV and receiving care are exposed to HIV/STD prevention counseling and whether it is reaching those who need it the most.” Examining New Data To better understand who is being reached with HIV/STD prevention counseling and how well they are being reached, Dr. Mizuno and colleagues published a study in AIDS evaluating data from the CDC’s Medi-cal Monitoring Project (MMP). The MMP provides nationally representative estimates of behavioral and clinical characteristics of HIV-infected adults receiving care in the U.S., including the estimated prevalence of exposure to HIV/STD risk-reduction interventions. According to the findings, only about 44% of people living with HIV in active care reported receiving one-on-one HIV/STD prevention counseling from their healthcare providers (Table)....

Quality Measures for Parkinson’s Disease Care

Quality measures have been developed for many different frameworks of medical care to address structures, processes, and/or outcomes. They also address important components of healthcare quality, including patient safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and patient-centeredness. Performance metrics and quality measures are increasingly becoming important for measuring progress and determining reimbursement for physicians and other providers. “When these measures are utilized in their entirety, they provide a framework for uniform quality and assessment of the many facetsand presentations of PD.” The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) established its own measures to improve the quality of treatment provided for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and to better understand how to improve quality of life in this patient group. In the November 30, 2010 issue of Neurology, my colleagues and I published a set of 10 quality measures for the care of patients with PD that were endorsed by the AAN. These measures are the result of a collaboration of a 28-person expert panel. Each measure identifies the patient population eligible for the measure—all patients with a diagnosis of PD—and identifies the temporal application. Once clinicians determine whether patients are eligible, then the measure states how it’s fulfilled. Clinicians managing patients with PD can then implement strategies to identify appropriate candidates and determine how to conduct assessments. Summarizing Quality Measures for Parkinson’s Disease Six of the measures address the assessment of PD symptoms, three cover the current diagnosis and treatment, and one covers patient safety and counseling on preventable complications. The first quality measure for PD is that all patients with the disease have their diagnosis and current medications reviewed at least annually, including a review...