From Testing to Treatment: A Comprehensive Approach to Curbing HIV
In 2010, women accounted for an estimated 9,500, or 20 percent, of the estimated 47,500 new HIV infections in the United States.i In New York, the percentage of women among newly diagnosed cases was even higher. Between January 2010 and December 2010, there were 977 newly diagnosed HIV cases, 25.5 percent of those cases were identified in women.ii
The Community Healthcare Network (CHN) is a group of not-for-profit community health centers committed to providing HIV testing and services to underserved populations in New York City. CHN receives funding from the Title X Family Program and the Ryan White Program, among other sources. CHN has led the way integrating HIV testing into routine medical care, including reproductive health services for women. CHN provides HIV counseling and testing as a routine part of primary care delivery at all of the agency’s centers. Testing is offered by nurses, social workers, health educators, and prevention specialist during triage so by the time clients see their medical provider, the test results are already on the chart and their HIV status can be addressed immediately.
CHN takes a comprehensive approach to HIV testing and treatment. Testing, counseling, education, linkage to primary care, and extensive follow-up for those who test positive are services provided by the CHN “HIV Team.” This team includes doctors, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, HIV counselors, case managers, and treatment adherence specialists. This allows the medical team to not only identify HIV cases but also begin to treat those identified as positive appropriately.
CHN’s efforts don’t stop in the clinics. CHN staff conducts extensive outreach as well as provides off-site HIV screening at community events and nontraditional venues, such as bars, salons, and parks. By integrating HIV testing as a routine part of care and community outreach, CHN is helping individuals become aware of their status and linking HIV-positive patients to care. During 2012, CHN provided HIV testing to 23,757 patients; 63 percent (15,095) of these tests were given to female reproductive health services patients. From this total, 4,543 women were tested for their first time.
Reproductive health services play a crucial role in identifying new HIV cases, which is important not only for women but also for their partners, especially since women continue to be the gatekeepers of their family’s health. Through its efforts, CHN has helped individuals take control of their health and the health of their families by making sure they know their HIV status and how to get connected to quality care.
i Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. (2013, March). HIV among women. cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/risk_women.pdf Accessed June 17, 2013.
ii New York State Department of Health. (2012, August). New York State HIV/AIDS Surveillance Annual Report: For Cases Diagnosed Through December 2010. Available at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/statistics/annual/2010/2010-12_annual_surveillance_report.pdf [PDF–1.1 MB]. Accessed June 17, 2013.
Community Healthcare Network
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