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New HIV Care Collaborative Announced by Merck
 
 
 

State of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and Need for an HIV Care Collaborative Focused on Underserved Populations.....http://hivcarecollaborative.org/
 
Thirty years after scientists reported the first cases of HIV/AIDS, significant achievements have been made in researching and developing a range of effective treatments that allow people to live with the disease.1 The fight against HIV/AIDS has also involved a range of efforts from health care providers, government, advocates, academia, and the pharmaceutical industry, among others. Combined public/private sector work has raised awareness about the disease, promoted behavior change and improved access to HIV care that has saved lives and improved the health outcomes for many of the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV.2,3
 
While much has been accomplished, 50,000 new HIV diagnoses are reported each year 2 and other statistics suggest more needs to be done especially among underserved populations:
 
· One in five Americans are unaware of their HIV status and among those known to have HIV, one in three receive no care at all.4, 5
 
· African Americans represent approximately 14% of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2009.4
 
· Latinos/Hispanics represented 16% of the population but accounted for 20% of new HIV infections in 2009.4
 
· One-fourth of Americans living with HIV are women, and the disease disproportionately impacts women of color.4
 
· In 2009, white men who have sex with men (MSM) continued to account for the largest number of new U.S. HIV infections (11,400), followed closely by black MSM (10,800).4
 
Essential to overall HIV prevention efforts is the need to address the higher rates of infection within these and other at-risk populations and provide those with HIV the care they need to remain healthy.
 
Collaborative Effort to Improve HIV Care in the U.S.
 
To help address remaining barriers to HIV care, especially among underserved populations, the Merck Foundation launched a three-year initiative - HIV Care Collaborative for Underserved Populations in the United States - to connect more people living with HIV to the care they need to stay healthy. The Foundation has committed $3 million to support local health departments in Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; and Philadelphia, PA. These are among the top 10 cities with the highest HIV burden in the U.S.5, 6
 
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The rapidly evolving healthcare financing and services system offers new opportunities and challenges for organizations that offer HIV testing, linkage, care, and treatment. Innovative approaches to delivering these services in public health and other settings are needed to ensure rapid identification, effective linkage to clinical and support services, and long term retention in care. I am writing to introduce you to an important effort to design and test innovative HIV linkage and retention interventions in city and county public health departments. The HIV Care Collaborative is funded by the Merck Foundation and is underway at the Fulton County GA Department of Health and Wellness, the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and the City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services. George Washington University serves as the National Program Office.
 
The Collaborative has established a new website to advance knowledge among funders and providers about effective models and best practices in linkage, retention, and reengagement of HIV positive individuals. The website, HIVcarecollaborative.org, offers information about our intervention design, evaluation and quality improvement strategies, evaluation results, and helpful resources that can be readily adopted by public health and other agencies. The website is refreshed on a regular basis to highlight the accomplishments of the Collaborative, and offer emerging resources drawn from efforts underway across the US. Please let us know about information you would like to share with our website visitors by contacting us at hivcarecollaborative@gmail.com.

 
 
 
 
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