The Premise: School Based Wellness Centers (SBWC) provide an important and significant function in the eradication of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), which include HIV, in the State of Delaware. In an attempt to pursue this State and Federal mandate, community partners and collaborative linkages must be forged and cultivated. The Department of Public Health and Disease Intervention Specialists are intently vital in that regard.
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The Policy: The State employs a team of Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) through the Department of Health and Social Services. This team is assigned to the Division of Public Health. Each team member has the responsibility to ensure that persons who are infected with, or had an exposure to, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), receive appropriate medical care at the earliest possible period. As a vital part of the STI investigation and partner notification process, the Disease Intervention Specialists’ shall effectively collaborate with the Center’s representative as part of the operational protocol. The following are utility points that shall serve as a functional guide, which outline an approach that should be beneficial, at the point of engagement with the Wellness Center’s team representative, when a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) conducts a student interview with a School appointed participant.
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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) related Issues pursuant to this policy Proposal:
1) The Representative will contact the School Wellness Program to locate the student in order to confidentially discuss STI concerns.
2) The DIS will confidentially inform the student of his/her STI infection. DIS shall also conduct an educational discussion that addresses re-infection, partner notification, and risk reduction.
3) The student shall be given (2) options regarding treatment possibilities: Option A: The Student is informed that he/she may receive treatment through the School’s program.
Option B: The student is informed that treatment may be administered through a medical provider of his/her choice.
4) If treatment is to be administered through the program, information relative to the student’s health status is immediately transmitted to the appropriate representative of the School Based Wellness program, in order to initiate effective treatment protocol.
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5) At the point the student decides to seek treatment from a provider other than the School’s Wellness program, information pertaining to the student’s health status shall remain confidential and protected according to HIPAA protocol. The DIS shall offer his/her appreciation to the School Based Wellness staff for providing the needed cooperation, stating without which successful contact with the student could not have been made.
6) When the student’s sex partners are elicited or shared, as part of an intervention with the representative, then all information pertaining to that intervention shall be forwarded to, and discussed with, the DIS for possible resolution and follow-up.
7) Should irregularities or difficult circumstances develop during the collaborative process between the DIS and the School selected representative, the DIS is to seek assistance through the appropriate chain of command.
8) The DIS will handle each situation in a professional manner so that the privacy of each student is properly safeguarded.
HIV testing and counseling issues pursuant to this proposal:
1) Any and all HIV information shall remain confidential. This means information shall not be revealed, shared, or discussed by the DIS with any School Based Wellness program, related to HIV test results of infected or exposed students;