As you may have read in our e-newsletter AWARE, as a Ryan White sub-grantee, AIDS Services Foundation has been participating through the Orange County Health Care Agency in the “in+care Campaign.” The campaign is a collaborative effort between the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau and the National Quality Center. It is a national 12-month quality improvement initiative focused on retention…bringing people back into care and keeping others from falling out of care.
June 1st saw the end of another reporting period in the campaign which began in December of last year. Though changes seem incremental, they are significant. Our community is getting healthier, slowly, but surely. Some of the numbers returned from the Orange County Health Care Agency are highlighted below.
The “Gap Measure,” or the percentage of patients who did not have a medical appointment in the last 180 days, saw a decrease from 12.9% on December 15 to 12.1% on June 1. Studies have shown that people infected by HIV who see their doctor on a regular basis within the first year of diagnosis have nearly double the survival rate of those who do not.
The percentage of patients who had at least one medical visit in each six month period of the 24-month measurement, or the “Medical Visit Frequency,” determines the amount of clients who were retained in care for 2 years. Medical Visit Frequency saw an increase from 69.7% in December to 70.6% in June.
The percentage of patients exhibiting suppressed viral loads (less than 200 copies/mL) rose from 79.6% in December vs. 81.7% in June. When a person living with HIV has a suppressed viral load, he/she is much less likely to transmit the virus to another.
As you can see, the work that ASF is doing in the community is contributing not only to the health of our clients, but also to the overall health of our community. When people living with HIV/AIDS remain in care, they are more likely to adhere to their medications, have undetectable viral loads, have less opportunistic infections and decrease transmission. Keeping clients in care extends lives and makes for overall healthier communities.
Please watch for another update on this important program in a few months as we continue to work together to end AIDS.