Two years ago on World AIDS Day, President Obama announced $50 million to increase the number of people living with HIV who are linked to and retained in HIV care and treatment. Of that $50 million, $15 million was directed to the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program’s Part C.
Starting in FY 2012, HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau and Bureau of Primary Health Care collaborated to implement what became known as the “Increasing Access to HIV Care and Treatment” (IAHCT) initiative. Through this initiative, HRSA used these one-time funds to provide supplements to 275 Ryan White HIV clinical sites, including 134 dually-funded health centers, as well as competitively fund 14 new Ryan White clinical site grantees.
Recipients of these funds expanded outreach and HIV testing activities for high-risk populations, extended service hours for HIV medical care, and increased support services. They also enhanced systems to identify, connect with and keep people living with HIV in care. In addition, the clinical sites also hired additional providers experienced in HIV primary care.
Our goal under the initiative’s first year was to provide services to an additional 7,500 patients across the country. However, our results more than doubled initial expectations. During the first year of this initiative, June 2012 through May 2013, the 275-funded clinical sites linked 19,589 patients to HIV care, including 13,142 into care for the first time.
These clinical sites also met the needs of people living with HIV across the HIV care continuum. For example, 9,329 enrolled patients were newly diagnosed and were linked to medical care within 90 days of diagnosis. An additional 3,813 previously diagnosed patients entered medical care and treatment for the first time. The initiative also brought back into HIV medical care 6,447 people living with HIV who had not received care in more than a year.Finally, the 14 newly awarded Ryan White HIV/AID Program grantees enrolled an additional 1,629 people living with HIV into medical care in 2012. The largest enrollment was seen in the southeastern U.S., New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all jurisdictions where HIV incidence is higher than the U.S. average.