What is a DIS?

Apr 20, 2017 | 0 comments

By Alberto Perez and Wanda Jackson      

Training participants from a Passport to Partner Services, Track D course displaying their “Keep Calm and Let A DIS Handle It” buttons.

Training participants from a Passport to Partner Services, Track D course conducted in Long Beach, CA.  In this course participants were represented from states of South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri, California and from the territory of Guam.  They are proudly displaying their “Keep Calm and Let A DIS Handle It” buttons, which were generously donated by the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).  

What is a DIS?

  1. Is it a Disease Intervention Specialist?
  2. Is it a Disease Investigation Specialist?
  3. Is it a Disease Inspection Specialist?

If you picked # 1, you are correct! A Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) intervenes in the spread of communicable diseases, specifically STDs and HIV.

DIS conduct voluntary interviews with patients who are positive for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV to obtain names and locating information of their sexual and/or needle-sharing partners and then use that information to contact those partners to inform them of their potential exposure to an STD or HIV.  DIS will contact the partners by various methods of investigation, based on information obtained from the patient, to bring those individuals in for examination and/or treatment.

DIS also provide and ensure active referrals and linkage services for HIV positive patients ready to engage in treatment, including scheduling medical appointments and arranging for transportation or escort services to appointments.

DIS establish and maintain relationships with community providers by visiting or calling physicians’ offices, laboratories and other medical institutions to provide information on current and effective treatment techniques and to assist patients in accessing care.

These are just a few of their job functions.  There are so many more, however this is their primary role.  Their goal is to stop the spread or break the chain of disease.

As you can imagine, it’s a challenging job.  DIS must possess some very important skills…

How are DIS trained?

DIS are trained in the Passport to Partner Services Track D course, a blended learning curriculum which utilizes online modules and instructor-led training to present key concepts related to the effective delivery of STD/HIV partner services.

Track D emphasizes the development of skills and techniques for interviewing STD and HIV patients in order to identify sex partners and social contacts for referral to medical evaluation in a confidential, client-centered and non-judgmental manner. Specifically, participants hone their communication skills, problem solving capabilities, and motivational techniques.

Investigation and notification tools, including online tools, are discussed and feedback on mock interviews (role plays) is provided to each participant.  The course also includes an introduction to syphilis case management, Syphilis Visual Case Analysis, and the LOT System training.

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