Testing for HIV in the emergency department (ED) has become a vital topic and policy in hospitals across the country. Early diagnosis of HIV is critical in decreasing transmission rates, in addition to providing better outcomes for patients, as early diagnosis often leads to earlier treatment. Today we discuss how to counsel patients with a new diagnosis of HIV in the ED.
Before labeling a patient as an “influenza like illness” what other potentially life-threatening flu mimics should be considered? Specific clinical questioning will help you to narrow your differential diagnosis.
Consider acute retroviral syndrome like endocarditis or meningitis or epidural abscess: another life threatening cause of a seemingly benign febrile illness that we must recognize. HIV infection, especially in its primary phase, represents a life threatening malady that could have serious implications on the patient and the public health at large if not diagnosed.