The Division of Infectious Diseases’ Ryan White Program is Paving the Way for New HIV Treatment
Sep 23, 2021 5:00 PM
The Division of Infectious Diseases’ Ryan White Program provides 85% - 90% of HIV Care in the State of Utah – particularly to those that are under or uninsured. In alignment with the Human Resources & Services Administrations (HRSA) effort to End the HIV Epidemic by 2030, the Program works alongside the Utah Department of Health, the Utah AIDS Foundation, and other community partners to Get-Utah-to-Zero and to drastically reduce (if not eliminate) HIV transmission in Utah. Innovative care models, care retention strategies, and advances in antiretroviral medications combined make this goal more achievable than ever.
In 2020, the Program initiated a Rapid Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) Protocol in the Infectious Diseases Clinic to get newly diagnosed clients and previously diagnosed patients out of care on these vital medications on the same day of their diagnosis or by the first clinic visit. Evidence from multiple studies establishes that initiating ART on the day of diagnosis is safe, improves retention in care and increases the proportion of patients who are virally suppressed after 12 months. Leveraging the full, interdisciplinary capacity of the Ryan White Program, which includes Ambulatory Medical Care, Individual Case Management, and Client Benefits & Eligibility Assurance, our patients’ unique medical histories and social networks are considered to meaningfully develop a care regiment that ensure their viral suppression – eliminating the possibility of their transmitting through the community.
By educating and counseling patients about HIV and treatment, conducting a full medical evaluation, establishing that there are no contraindications to immediate ART, providing an immediate initial HIV regimen, ensuring care coverage identifying potential barriers to medication adherence and continuity in care, and establishing a follow-up care plan have proven successful in virally suppressing newly diagnosed clients. In 2020, among our Ryan White Part D patient population, 100% of our newly diagnosed patients were virally suppressed and undetectable thanks to the Rapid ART Protocol.
The Program will continue to implement the Rapid ART Protocol in the Infectious Diseases Clinic at University of Utah Health and will continue refining the protocol through a data-driven, quality improvement approach. As such, the Infectious Diseases Clinic will move the State of Utah one step closer to Getting-to-Zero. Read more about the program here.