With 56,000 people infected each year and more than 1.1 million Americans living with the virus, HIV is still an epidemic in the United States. And yet one in five people with HIV don’t even know they are infected.
The United States has an official National HIV/AIDS Strategy that calls for increased testing (so people know their status), increased access to culturally sensitive prevention messages, community-targeted prevention, and condom and clean needle access. The strategy also calls for improving access to quality HIV care, because HIV medications not only improve individuals’ health and extend life expectancy, they also reduce their risk of transmitting HIV to others.
Another issue with HIV in the United States is health care disparities — gaps in the quality of care associated with inequities encountered by racial, ethnic, poor and marginalized groups.
To help health care providers nationwide improve health equity for people living with HIV, Kaiser Permanente announced today the Kaiser Permanente HIV Challenge, aimed at increasing access to HIV care and improving health outcomes. At Kaiser Permanente, there are no disparities among its black and Latino HIV-positive patients for both mortality and medication rates, compared to a 15 percent higher rate in the United States.
According to the press release, the purpose of the HIV Challenge is to challenge other private health care providers and public and community health clinics to increase the number of HIV-positive people getting effective treatment. To help, Kaiser Permanente is sharing its toolkit of clinical best practices, provider and patient education materials, mentoring, training, and health IT expertise — lessons learned from 30 years of being at the forefront of treating HIV-positive patients.
For more details on the HIV Challenge or to download the best practices toolkit, go to the official HIV Challenge website at http://kp.org/hivchallenge. To follow online conversation on this and other announcements made today at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Care Innovations Summit in Washington, D.C., follow the tweetstream: #cisummit.
Today and tomorrow, we’ll be sharing videos on the challenge, starting with the one below.