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Dr. Ian Martin Honored with Milwaukee County Pride Month Citation

Ian B. K. Martin, MD, MBA, professor and chair of MCW’s Department of Emergency Medicine and emergency physician-in-chief for the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, was honored by Milwaukee County with a Pride Month Citation for his efforts to implement an opt-out universal emergency department HIV testing program across seven emergency departments in the region. Dr. Martin received the citation at a ceremony on June 22.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HIV testing for all people between the ages of 18-64 years at least once in their life, and more frequently for those with additional potential exposures. Diagnosing HIV in people who are living with HIV, but unaware of their infection, is essential for ending the HIV epidemic. People who are aware of their HIV-positive status can be linked to care and started on treatment, which results in a life expectancy on par with the general population. In addition, once on treatment, people living with HIV cannot transmit HIV to others.

As of summer 2022, none of the hospitals in the State of Wisconsin were conducting universal HIV screening. To better serve our patients and the public health of the people of Wisconsin, and to adhere to CDC guidelines, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) health network implemented universal, opt-out HIV screening in seven of our emergency departments around the region.

Since the project’s inception in July 2022, 11,295 HIV tests have been performed. These numbers represent a substantial increase when compared to the average of only 50 HIV tests completed each month prior to this universal testing initiative. The program has identified twenty-one (21) new cases of HIV in less than a year, with 95% of those people newly diagnosed being linked to care through MCW’s HIV Care & Prevention program. This represents nearly 10% of the number typically diagnosed in the entire state of Wisconsin in one year. All people identified through this initiative have shared that they had not had HIV testing elsewhere and would not have otherwise been tested for HIV, demonstrating the importance and impact of universal opt-out HIV testing.

Dr. Martin credits the success of this impactful program to the contributions and efforts of our frontline emergency department nursing staff and emergency medicine faculty, residents, and advanced practice providers (APPs), nursing leaders Tina Nielsen, Dawn Zakzesky, Kevin Nieves, Christopher Kowalkiewicz, Dina Derocher and Amanda Jones; emergency medicine physician leaders Drs. Jonathan Rubin, Matthew Chinn, and Daniel Mielnicki; laboratory medicine physician leader Dr. Nathan Ledeboer; and HIV Care & Prevention leaders Dr. Andrew Petroll and Joanna Woodbury.