World AIDS Day
Since 1988, December 1 has been dedicated to worldwide AIDS awareness. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead.”
Our companies are truly on the frontline of progress in the HIV response. Both ConnectiCare and EmblemHealth support our members with HIV diagnoses and treatment via enterprise Care Management teams.
We created dedicated care/case management programs to assist our members who may be coping with a complex set of health issues. Our programs and staff can help members reduce their viral loads, manage their medications, find community resources, and navigate the health care system.
We have nurses, social workers, and non-clinical staff who coordinate and help connect members to care. When we find members who have specific difficulties or barriers to care, we have an interdisciplinary care team that collaborates to find solutions.
The EmblemHealth Case/Care Management program has been recognized by the New York State Department of Health for its success, and as a result, was awarded grants for the last three years for its Ending the AIDS the Epidemic initiative for Medicaid members.
The grant currently serves 150 enrolled Medicaid members and provides funding for a community health worker. This health worker can provide one-on-one assistance in helping members navigate the health care system, make home visits, and (where needed) escort members to their appointments.
We recommend that members living with HIV should have a minimum of:
- Two outpatient care visits per year (scheduled six months apart).
- Two viral load tests per year (scheduled six months apart).
- Annual screening for syphilis.
- Monitored HIV medication adherence.
We also support the use of PrEP( Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to prevent HIV transmission.
At EmblemHealth and ConnectiCare, we continue to bring awareness and support to our members and families living with HIV. Our greatest challenge is addressing the stigma and misperception around the diagnosis.
We hope you will encourage your patients to reach out for help and not suffer in silence.
Please see the HIV/AIDS resources we have available to you and your patients, which includes instructions on referring appropriate members to our programs.
Our companies also offer classes on nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyles at our EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care and ConnectiCare Centers in support of whole communities, including those living with HIV/AIDS.
On World AIDS Day we remember and commit to being part of the solution to addressing inequalities which are still holding back progress in ending AIDS. We remember the loss of those who have succumbed to this disease. As physicians and health care providers we can serve as advocates to those affected, including those that remain silent. Remember that every encounter is an opportunity to provide support, education, and hope.
Thank you to Marcia Allan, Zita Walker, Christine Spooner, and Kimberly Green for their contributions to this post.