Perinatal HIV Prevention Program Training
Perinatal HIV Prevention Program Training
A key area of focus for Texas’s Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has been to reduce the perinatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), where an infected mother passes HIV to her unborn child. Without drug therapies or behavioral guidelines, perinatal HIV transmission can reach as high as 25%.
As effective drug therapies and regimens for combating HIV in adults became available in the 1990s, DSHS was at the forefront of putting them into practice. DSHS, an agency with 12,000 employees, a budget of $3.2 billion and responsible for the health of 28 million Texans, aimed to slow the growth of the epidemic among adults and allow them to live longer lives.
Creating Crucial Conversations With Training
To counteract a serious public health threat, the State of Texas began opt-out HIV testing for pregnant women in 1997. Aggressive testing, antiviral drug therapies, and efforts to rally clinicians statewide drove the rate of perinatal HIV transmission down to 1% in 2005. However, over the next two years, the rate of perinatal infection increased, reaching 4%.
Through interviews with clinicians and patients, state experts found that there were procedural obstacles to HIV testing. For example, oral-based rapid-testing kits were labor-intensive for hospital staff to use. And emotional and communication barriers were a critical issue. Clinicians were uncomfortable administering HIV tests, for fear of having to convey bad news to the patient. In addition, commonly used phrasing between clinicians and pregnant women inadvertently focused on opting out of testing rather than test benefits. Without a consistently applied strategic approach, pregnant women at risk for carrying HIV were missing a crucial fact: transmitting HIV to their baby can be prevented. As a result, at-risk pregnant women chose not to undergo HIV testing.
DSHS’s Division for Disease Control and Prevention Services needed to reach clinicians who were reluctant to discuss the benefits of HIV testing for pregnant women.
Engaging Busy Professionals
DSHS recognized the importance of communication: doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals needed training on how to present the advantages of perinatal HIV testing compassionately and clearly. They also needed support for discussing positive test results, as well resources for themselves and their patients.
Microassist created a ninety-minute elearning course that gives doctors, nurses and other clinicians the tools for communicating with pregnant women. The course provided case studies, scientific data, and specific communication strategies. It covers the reduction in transmission rates for HIV-positive pregnant women who receive treatment at the first prenatal visit, during labor and delivery, and for women who do not receive treatment. The course also discussed screening, testing, and treatment of syphilis. For those health care professionals with questions, it provided resources. And, essentially, the course is designed to meet State of Texas accessibility standards to both comply with state regulations and allow for universal access for those with disabilities.
As part of a custom learning and public outreach effort, this animation transformed complex diagrams describing how HIV is transmitted into an easily understood and well-illustrated narrative of HIV transmission, providing the basis for a deeper awareness of the need to encourage women to undergo perinatal HIV testing.
Critical Results Driven By Training
Microassist succeeded in reaching a notoriously difficult audience: busy doctors and nurses. Over the seven years the course has been available, over 350 doctors, nurses, health educators, social workers and others in allied fields have taken it (with about 45% fulfilling a continuing education requirement).
The Perinatal HIV Prevention course won praise for the team’s engaging and interactive design while also meeting tough, state-mandated accessibility standards. Out of 144 ratings on the TRAIN leaning management system, over 90% give the training a rating of four or five stars (out of five stars, five being the highest rating). Comments include “very interactive and easy to follow” and “this was the best learning tool I’ve gone through so far!”
The goal was to reduce perinatally-acquired HIV diagnosis by 25% from the 2006 levels, which calls for fewer than 14 perinatal HIV diagnoses by 2020. With effective training, Texas DSHS reached this goal early, with only 10 cases of perinatal HIV diagnosed in 2016.
Thanks to better caregiver-patient communication and other DSHS-sponsored programs, hundreds of young Texans have a chance to live normal, healthy lives.
For more information on Microassist custom training development in general or this elearning example specifically, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.