HIV Care Connect

HIV Care Connect

Approximately 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV today, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1 Although the incidence of HIV has declined, certain populations and geographic regions bear a disproportionate burden of new infections.

 

Over half of all people newly diagnosed with HIV live in the U.S. South, and approximately three quarters of them are people of color.2 In 2017, over two thirds of gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV were men of color, and approximately three quarters of women diagnosed with HIV were women of color.3,4

Substantial disparities in HIV persist throughout the HIV care continuum, and frequently lead to poorer health outcomes. Social determinants of health — factors such as economic stability, neighborhood and physical environment, education, stigma, social context and trust in health care systems — contribute significantly to disparities among persons living with HIV in underserved U.S. communities.

Connecting individuals living with HIV to high-quality care, treatment, and support is critical in helping them achieve and maintain viral suppression, which is a key goal of treatment.

Goals

To help address persistent HIV disparities in the U.S., our company’s Foundation launched HIV Care Connect. This multi-site initiative aims to reduce disparities in access to care and improve health outcomes for people of color living with HIV in vulnerable and underserved communities in the Southeastern United States. The Foundation has committed $7 million over five years [2019-2023] to support HIV Care Connect and its program partners in selected communities across the Southeast.

HIV Care Connect aims to:

  • Improve linkage to and retention in high-quality HIV care for populations most affected by HIV
  • Build sustainable collaborations between the health care sector and other sectors to address access barriers related to the social determinants of health
  • Improve health outcomes for persons living with HIV, particularly in underserved communities
  • Disseminate key findings and program results to advance best practices for improving HIV care

HIV Care Connect program sites

Through grants to three organizations, the Foundation is supporting evidence-based, multifaceted programs to help promote sustainable improvements in the delivery of HIV care.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, AL) serves as the National Program Office for HIV Care Connect. It supports the program efforts of the grantee organizations and provides leadership in building a public-private partnership to help reduce disparities in HIV care.

Approach

HIV Care Connect programs will:

  • Implement evidence-based, multilevel strategies to improve the linkage to and long-term engagement in HIV care
  • Establish or expand multisectoral collaborations to address factors inside and outside the health care system that affect access to HIV care and health outcomes
  • Engage the community in program development to ensure that interventions are effectively tailored to address local needs

Through an independent cross-site evaluation, the Foundation will assess the impact of the HIV Care Connect initiative and its programs. This effort is designed to identify and promote best practices for improving access to high-quality HIV care among populations disproportionately affected by HIV.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2018; 23(4) Retrieved July 30, 2019, from https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). HIV Surveillance Report, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/reports/surveillance/cdc-hiv-surveillance-infographic-2017.pdf
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV and African American Gay and Bisexual Men. Retrieved August 22, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/msm/bmsm.html
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). HIV Surveillance Report, 2017 (2017 ed., Vol. 29). Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/reports/surveillance/cdc-hiv-surveillance-report-2017-vol-29.pdf