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Chicago Invests 18M in HIV Tx

By on April 19, 2015

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launches HIV Treatment Works – a new effort to encourage HIV positive individuals across the City to seek treatment and to build the capacity of local organizations to provide care, helping to reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS. The effort includes a $17.9 million initial investment in 44 community based organizations and health centers to provide medical care and other essential support services to residents living with HIV/AIDS as well as a citywide media campaign targeted to HIV-positive individuals not currently in care.

“Chicago is winning the fight against HIV and AIDS and today we are closer than ever to victory,” said CDPH Acting Commissioner Julie Morita, MD. “HIV treatment works by helping HIV-positive people live longer, healthier lives and by stopping the spread of HIV.”

When taken correctly, HIV medicines lead to viral suppression, reducing the amount of HIV in the blood to an undetectable level, preventing complications from developing and making it harder to transmit the virus to others. According to CDPH’s 2014 Surveillance Report, 80% of Chicagoans newly diagnosed with HIV were linked to care within 3 months, 80% of whom achieved viral suppression, both above national averages. Over half of HIV-positive Chicago residents received medical care in 2011, compared to only 40% nationally.

“Viral suppression is already a reality for thousands of Chicago residents,” said Nanette Benbow, CDPH Deputy Commissioner, HIV/STI Services. “We continue to work with partners in the community to reach every Chicagoan who has fallen out of care so they can have the help and support they need to share the same success.”

The $17.9 million investment will be used by partners to provide primary care and support services like mental health services, housing and home-delivered meals to HIV-positive residents. Funded services were prioritized through CDPH’s HIV planning body, Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council (CAHISC). This year, CDPH will work directly with agencies on the ground to identify and engage individuals not currently in care and on medication.

“Our clients benefit directly from our CDPH funding,” said Cheryl Potts, Executive Director of Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance and Co-Chair of CAHISC. “When state funding is in question, it is good to know that clients will continue to receive the recovery and occupational therapy services they need to break the cycles of poverty and homelessness and increase their access to life-saving HIV treatment.”