HIV Testing Basics

HIV Testing Basics

Med-IQ Select
Expiring Soon
Online Course | Specialties: Family Medicine, Primary Care
Released: 10/22/2020
Expires: 10/21/2021
Max Credits: 0.5
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Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, MPA  
Founder and CEO, Grapevine Health  
Clinical Professor of Medicine  
George Washington University
School of Medicine and Health Sciences  
Washington, DC 
David J. Malebranche, MD, MPH
Board-Certified Internal Medicine Physician
Sexual Health and HIV Specialist
Atlanta, GA
Activity Planners
Stephanie Larson, PhD 
Clinical Content Manager 
Baltimore, MD 
Laura Rafferty, ELS 
Senior Managing Editor 
Baltimore, MD 
Samantha Gordon, MS 
Accreditation Manager 
Baltimore, MD 
Jennifer S. Price, MA 
Education Manager 
Southern Medical Association 
Birmingham, AL 
Mandy Stone 
CME Compliance Manager 
Southern Medical Association 
Birmingham, AL 
Monica Nicosia, PhD
Nicosia Medical Writer LLC
Bryn Mawr, PA
Learning Objective
Upon completion, participants should be able to:
  • Incorporate evidence-based HIV screening and testing strategies in routine clinical practice
Target Audience
This activity is intended for primary care providers in the South. 
Statement of Need
In 2019, the United States (US) Department of Health and Human Services proposed the “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” initiative, with the ambitious goal of reducing new HIV infections by 75% in 5 years and by 90% in the coming decade. This plan is based on the substantial body of evidence that suggests that available prevention and treatment strategies, together with enhanced HIV testing efforts, have the potential to radically reduce new HIV transmissions in the US. The first phase of this project focuses on geographic hotspots that are hardest hit by the HIV epidemic; one-half of the 48 counties and all 7 states designated as priority areas are located in the South. Although a high number of people are living with HIV in the South, many primary care providers (PCPs) in this region do not possess robust, up-to-date knowledge about HIV risk assessment, prevention, and treatment in their practice setting. This project aims to increase PCP knowledge about how HIV testing, treatment, and prevention together can reduce new HIV infections, as well as improve the ability of PCPs to implement components of an HIV-prevention framework in the primary care setting.
Collaboration Statement
This activity was developed by Med-IQ in collaboration with the Southern Medical Association.
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Accreditation/Designation Statements
The Southern Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 
The Southern Medical Association designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 
Medium/Method of Participation
This is a 0.5-credit CME activity. To receive credit, read the introductory CME material, complete all of the modules, and complete the evaluation, attestation, and post-test, answering at least 70% of the post-test questions correctly.
Initial Release Date: October 22, 2020
Expiration Date: October 21, 2021
Estimated Time to Complete This Activity: 30 minutes
Disclosure Policy
The Southern Medical Association and Med-IQ require any person in a position to control the content of an educational activity to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest. The ACCME defines “relevant financial relationships” as those in any amount occurring within the past 12 months, including those of a spouse/life partner, that could create a conflict of interest (COI). Individuals who refuse to disclose will not be permitted to contribute to this CME activity in any way. The Southern Medical Association and Med-IQ has policies in place that will identify and resolve COIs prior to this educational activity. The Southern Medical Association and Med-IQ also require faculty to disclose discussions of investigational products or unlabeled/unapproved uses of drugs or devices regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Disclosure Statement
The content of this activity has been peer reviewed and has been approved for compliance. The faculty and contributors have indicated the following financial relationships, which have been resolved through an established COI resolution process, and have stated that these reported relationships will not have any impact on their ability to give an unbiased presentation. 
Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, MPA, has indicated no real or apparent conflicts.
David J. Malebranche, MD, MPH 
Consulting fees/advisory boards: Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Fees received for promotional/non-CME activities: Gilead Sciences, Inc.

The writer, peer reviewers, and activity planners have no financial relationships to disclose.
Statement of Evidence-Based Content
Educational activities that assist physicians in carrying out their professional responsibilities more effectively and efficiently are consistent with the ACCME definition of continuing medical education (CME). As an ACCME-accredited provider of CME, the Southern Medical Association and Med-IQ have a policy to review and ensure that all the content and any recommendations, treatments, and manners of practicing medicine in CME activities are scientifically based, valid, and relevant to the practice of medicine. The Southern Medical Association is responsible for validating the content of the CME activities it provides. Specifically, (1) all recommendations addressing the medical care of patients must be based on evidence that is scientifically sound and recognized as such within the profession; (2) all scientific research referred to, reported, or used in CME in support or justification of a patient care recommendation must conform to generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis.
The Southern Medical Association or Med-IQ is not liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this activity.
Contact Information
For questions or comments about this activity, please contact Med-IQ. Call (toll-free) 866 858 7434 or email
System Requirements
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The information provided through this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.
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Acknowledgment of Commercial Support
This activity is supported by an educational grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc.
© 2020 Med-IQ, Inc.

The following material has been developed to accompany this activity:

HIV Testing Basics: Companion Guide

Note: This material is not accredited for CME and, therefore, does not offer any CME/CE credit.


Here are the key takeaways from this activity. Deeper insights and evidence, plus an opportunity to receive credit, are available at the "Continue" button below.
HIV screening and testing in primary care has the potential to significantly reduce new HIV infections by allowing clinicians to identify individuals with HIV early in their infection course and provide them with the appropriate care. These actions can improve health outcomes and reduce the risk of transmission to HIV-negative individuals.

Module 1: HIV Infection in the South

  • Approximately 40% of all new HIV acquisitions in the US are linked to individuals who are not aware of their HIV status
  • In 2017, the South had a greater proportion of new HIV cases (52%) than all other regions combined; moreover, although only 38% of the US population lived in the South in 2018, they accounted for 51% of new HIV diagnoses

Module 2: HIV Testing Recommendations

  • All individuals aged 13 to 64 years should be tested at least once for HIV
  • People who are more likely to be at risk of HIV acquisition should be tested at least once a year, including people who inject drugs, people who exchange sex for money or drugs, and sexual partners of people with HIV

Module 3: Speaking With Patients About HIV Testing

  • Obtaining patients’ detailed sexual history and current sexual practices is key to understanding their risk of HIV transmission

Module 4: HIV Tests and the Testing Algorithm

  • HIV tests fall into 3 general categories: antigen/antibody combination tests, antibody tests, and viral load tests
  • The HIV testing algorithm requires preliminary testing with a fourth-generation HIV-1/2 antigen/antibody combination immunoassay and, in the case of a positive preliminary result, confirmatory testing with an HIV-1/2 antibody differentiation immunoassay and/or viral load test

Module 5: Counseling Patients After HIV Testing

  • Providers should establish processes for informing patients regarding their HIV test results and promptly linking individuals with positive results to the appropriate clinical care, counseling, support, and prevention services

View Reference List

Click "Continue" to proceed through this activity and/or receive credit. Or, select a specific module from the menu on the left. To receive credit and a certificate, you must complete all of the modules in this activity.

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Unless otherwise indicated, photographed subjects who appear within the content of this activity or on artwork associated with this activity are models; they are not actual patients or doctors.

The information provided through this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.

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