BPHC Bulletin: World AIDS Day

bphc health center program bulletin

Dear Colleagues,

This Saturday is World AIDS Day, and we want to recognize health centers’ efforts in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS. Last year’s data show the direct impact of your work:

  • The percentage tested for HIV increased by 27% to 1.8 million patients from 2016 to 2017.
  • 85% of newly diagnosed HIV patients were linked to care.

Source: Uniform Data System (UDS), 2017

Health centers’ continued emphasis on coordinated and comprehensive care and the integration of HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment into primary care can increase access and improve health outcomes for people living with or at risk for HIV.

This year, HRSA issued resources and guidance to support your efforts:

  • A Dear Colleague letter from HRSA stressed the importance of viral suppression messages for people living with HIV (PLWH): 

    • "PLWH who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner. Such findings underscore the importance of supporting effective interventions for linking PLWH into care, retaining them in care, and helping them adhere to their HIV medication."

    • "Sharing messages about viral suppression with PLWH may have a profound impact on how they feel about themselves, their life choices, and reducing stigma and discrimination. By reducing HIV-stigma for providers, PLWH, and their family members, these discussions could have a positive impact on linkage to HIV care, retention in care, and HIV viral suppression."
  • A new toolkit for health centers, "Integrating HIV Care, Treatment & Prevention Services into Primary Care," is available on HRSA’s website. The toolkit compiles resources that were developed during the three-year Partnerships for Care (P4C) demonstration project. Please take a look at the lessons learned by P4C health centers as they integrated HIV and primary care and worked collaboratively with health departments to improve access to and retention in care.  

Thank you for your support of the Health Center Program and your commitment to improving the health of underserved and vulnerable populations in your community.

Dr. Judith Steinberg
Health Center Program Chief Medical Officer