Nursing faculty member builds online toolkit to bridge gap in HIV care

A nursing faculty member with a background in health informatics created an online toolkit that helps providers and patients better understand HIV risk and better communicate with each other about the virus and available treatment.

Jay Knight, assistant professor of nursing, is a member of the Grand Rapids LGBTQ+ Health Care Consortium. Knight said consortium board members have long recognized the stigma surrounding HIV care and wanted to create one toolkit that would benefit providers and community members. The toolkit is housed on the consortium's website

"We wanted to break down the barriers to getting PrEP ," Knight said, referring to the FDA-approved drug used to prevent HIV if taken before exposure. "There is so much stigma around sexual health, HIV and injection drug use. Some of that stigma comes from how questions from providers are phrased."

Jay Knight in blue vest and dark shirt
Jay Knight, assistant professor of nursing, is a member of the Grand Rapids LGBTQ+ Health Care Consortium.

The online toolkit has two audiences: health care providers and community members. Both providers and community members have access to a QR code to share the toolkit with the other party. It also links to conversation starters to make potentially uncomfortable situations easier for both parties, Knight said.

"It takes the pressure off the community member to educate the provider. Both parties need to be at the table in order to provide and receive the best health care," Knight said.

For providers, the toolkit has a link to automated notes and suggested billing codes that can be added to a patient's chart. Knight said these links correspond with the electronic health records systems at Corewell Health, Trinity Health and University of Michigan Health-West.

Knight's doctoral dissertation on HIV care and risk reduction was the catalyst for the toolkit. A medical student, Elena Lafata, from Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine assisted Knight with research and toolkit components.

Analytics from the toolkit continue to show global reach since it was launched in late September, Knight said. The consortium is promoting the toolkit, which underwent peer review, to its health care partners, the LGBTQ+ community and its social media audience.


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.