June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011
HIV Services Integrated into Primary Care

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy day for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Over the decades, it had been debated whether people with HIV and AIDS needed an infectious disease doctor of if our needs could be met by a primary care physician.

Not in the early years when there was no real life saving medications and little hope for those living with HIV, the thought was they need an infectious disease doctor armed with any possible knowledge to help people stay alive. But what about now?

The AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) National Center for HIV Care in Minority Communities (NCHCMC) launches a groundbreaking initiative to integrate HIV services into community health centers. In announcing the selection of twenty four health centers to participate in its new initiative, the AETC NCHCMC kicksvoff a three year effort to expand primary care services in health centers in order to better serve communities disproportionately impacted by HIV.

Through the AETC NCHCMC, HealthHIV is helping bridge the gap between the HIV and primary care fields to insure access to care and improved health outcomes. We also support the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce HIVvrelated health disparities. By expanding HIV care and treatment capacity at the community level we are helping to increase the number of people that know their HIV status and are linked to care. Our work with community health centers advances comprehensive HIV care and treatment, particularly in racial and ethnic minority communities where incidence of HIV is high.

Health centers selected for the program deliver primary care services to more than 375,000 patients a year, including 1,769 individuals diagnosed as HIV positive. Sites will participant in an innovative curriculum, rooted in the Patient Centered Medical Home model of care, with HIV as the population of focus. For a complete list of selected health centers visit www.NCHCMC.org.

The AETC NCHCMC is the Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau's major effort to expand HIV/AIDS care and treatment within highly impacted communities of color. The national center helps increase access to comprehensive HIV care for ethnic and racial minority communities severely impacted by HIV by developing the organizational capacity of health centers that are not directly funded through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Funded through the Minority AIDS Initiative and the AETC program, the AETC NCHCMC is led by HealthHIV in collaboration with the National Association of Community Health Centers.

Integrating HIV prevention and treatment into primary care, represents a comprehensive approach to providing timely access and quality care in a single place for all health issues. Delivering this care in health centers located in communities of highest risk, ensures effective and culturally appropriate care. Providing education, training and leadership development, the partnership between NACHC and the AETC NCHCMC strengthens and expands this innovative model for the patient centered medical home, accelerates the prevention of HIV infection, and improves the health outcomes of people already infected with the virus.

HealthHIV is the leading national, 501(c)(3) non-profit working with organizations, communities and professionals to advance effective prevention, care, and support for people living with, or at risk for, HIV through education and training, technical assistance and capacity building, advocacy, and health services research and evaluation. HealthHIV supports primary care providers treating HIV, as well as community and faith-based organizations involved in HIV prevention, care and treatment. For more information, please visit www.HealthHIV.org or www.NCHCMC.org.

Founded in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance and expand access to quality, community responsive health care for America's medically underserved and uninsured. NACHC represents the nation's network of more than 1,200 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which serve 23 million people through 8,000 sites located in all of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam.

So what are your thoughts? Drop me a line and let me know.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab