Drexel NOW (10.16.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
Drexel University’s College of Medicine in Philadelphia and Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I., collaborated to develop and pilot test “Do One Thing, Change Everything,” a mobile hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV testing program, in the most vulnerable Philadelphia neighborhoods. Led by Drexel’s Stacey Trooskin, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, the team included Drexel medical students, Drexel School of Public Health volunteers, experienced phlebotomists, and experienced HCV test technicians who could serve as patient navigators in connecting patients to care at Drexel Medicine’s Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice.
Prior to visiting a neighborhood, the “Do One Thing” team met with block captains, local clergy, and local businesses to build program support. The team then boarded a mobile clinic and traveled to communities with high rates of infection and methodically canvassed every street in the ZIP code, offering free HIV and HCV testing. The team used geographic information systems software to track their progress through a neighborhood and constantly publicized their location through their Twitter feed. If an individual received a positive rapid test result, the team’s phlebotomists could draw blood for confirmatory RNA testing, which CDC has recommended.
Trooskin noted that HCV was a “hidden disease” in medically underserved communities, and some HCV- or HIV-infected individuals identified through the “Do One Thing” program had never received primary care before. Since December 2012, the “Do One Thing” program has tested 780 individuals and reported a reactive HCV antibody test for 31 people. Trooskin has treated 25 of these individuals at Drexel’s Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice. Four others have recovered from the virus, and two received care from another source.
Participation in “Do One Thing” satisfied Drexel medical students’ community experience requirements. Visit http://www.1nething.com/ for additional information.