Services for the UnderServed ® (SUS) has been awarded a multi-year grant from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene via Public Health Solutions totaling over $2 million. SUS is privileged to be among 27 organizations awarded in this highly competitive bidding process. The grant supports an innovative model of service that is based upon emerging research on HIV/AIDS care treatment.
The Care Coordination grant seeks to address HIV/AIDS healthcare disparities by facilitating access to care and other services via medical case management, navigation, promotion of self-reliance and patient education. It aims to combine elements of the HIV Navigation Model and the Chronic Care Model to define and implement an HIV-specific Care Coordination model within the integrated continuum of care.
New York City (NYC) continues to be at the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic, with 100,642 New Yorkers reported with HIV/AIDS as of June 30, 2007. While advances in medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have been significant, disparities exist in health care access and health outcomes for PLWHAs. Despite the advances in treatment and increased life expectancy for PLWHA, HIV treatment remains challenging.
Factors associated with poor adherence to medical care plan and antiretroviral medications will be addressed through this grant. These factors include: mental illness; substance abuse; inadequate housing; lack of transportation; legal difficulties; inadequate access to food; being of racial/ethnic minority; social stigma; lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS; health care provider bias and miscommunication; health care provider lack of knowledge or adherence to HIV/AIDS clinical guidelines.
Once barriers to treatment have been eliminated and the patient is receiving adequate care, it is expected that individuals will experience a decrease in viral load (VL), an increase in CD4 counts, and advances in disease stage will be reduced with adherence to their prescribed ARV medication. By reducing VL in individuals and periodic assessment of HIV transmission risk with harm reduction counseling and partner notification where needed, HIV transmission may ultimately be reduced in the community.
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Founded in 1978, SUS has gained a reputation for helping individuals and families faced with a wide range of challenges—including mental illness, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, AIDS, homelessness, unemployment and poverty. With a staff of 1,600, SUS provides housing and support services to over 3,700 individuals in some 30 neighborhoods throughout New York City and on Long Island. For more information, visit their website here or the SUS blog here.