HIV: your primary care patient has just been diagnosed. Now what?
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Immediate linkage to care can significantly increase the number of patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and can reduce risk of transmitting HIV to others.
As soon as a patient is diagnosed with HIV, they should be offered mental health care, addiction treatment, harm-reduction services, as well as housing and financial support. This increases retention in care and ART adherence.
Patients should be linked to HIV care at time of HIV diagnosis or even before confirmatory test results come in. Studies that did this increased HIV care rates by more than 15%.
Patients should immediately be offered ancillary services, such as addiction treatment, mental health services, harm reduction, and housing and financial support.