In the News

BEAUMONT

PRESS RELEASE
Date: November 22, 2019

SmartHealth @Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas launches Rapid Start Treatment Program to improve the care of patients’ who are living with HIV.

Beaumont, Texas – SmartHealth provides Rapid Start treatment for individuals who are living with HIV. Previously, those who were diagnosed with HIV waited for as long as three months before they were prescribed medications. Rapid Start allows providers to prescribe medications immediately after an HIV diagnosis. Early initiation of therapy increases our patients’ engagement in care, and decreases their viral load.

The PATH 2.0 model estimated that HIV transmissions in 2016 occurred primarily from people with HIV who did not know their HIV status, or  were diagnosed but are out of care.  Together, these two groups accounted for approximately 80% of new infections. Those who were in care but had not achieved viral suppression accounted for approximately 20% of transmissions. To end the HIV epidemic in the United States, the HHS initiative directs a path forward for success. First, early detection of HIV infection must be improved. Second, once HIV infection is identified, rapid entry into care and prevention services is crucial to ensure achievement of viral suppression as quickly as possible (Li, Purcell, Sansom, Hayes, & Hall, 2019).

The Golden Triangle has approximately 1,300 people who are living with HIV, 761 actively engaged in care, and 611 have achieved viral suppression. Additionally, CDC reports that 1-in-8 individuals is unaware of their HIV status, with 80% of new infections being caused by 20% of those who are unaware of their status, or not retained in care. Approximately 80% of new HIV transmissions are from people who do not know they have HIV or are not engaged in care. Going forward, increasing the percentage of persons with HIV who have achieved viral suppression and do not transmit HIV will be critical for ending the HIV epidemic in the United States.

SmartHealth is a navigated wellness program that provides comprehensive medical care for chronic disease management that includes HIV and Hepatitis C. Our clinical team consists of Board Certified Medical Directors, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Licensed Social Workers, and Licensed Vocational Nurses. All services are provided in a judgement-free environment

Reference
Li, Z., Purcell, D. W., Sansom, S. L., Hayes, D., & Hall, H. I. (2019). Vital Signs:HIV Transmission Along the Continuum of Care — United States, 2016. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report68(11), 267–272. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6811e1

DALLAS

International Association of Providers of AIDS Care: Dallas County Expands Texas Fast-Track Network Against HIV

EAST TEXAS

East Texas Launches Achieving Together: The Resource Group has coordinated Achieving Together launches in communities across East Texas. Watch news coverage of the Tyler/Longview launch.

Tyler Morning Telegraph: Health officials, local advocates aim to end HIV epidemic, stigma that surrounds the virus

SAN ANGELO

Amber Contreras, Eligibility Coordinator for Shannon’s Port of Health Services, conducted an interview with a bilingual newspaper about Achieving Together.