MCHC Celebrates Advances in HIV Treatment on December 1: World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day 2015 is December 1, a day to bring awareness to the fight against AIDS. Did you know the following facts?
- HIV and affect anyone.
- It is recommended that ALL teens and adults in the United States get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Depending on risk, your provider may recommend being tested periodically.
- As many as one in eight people in the U.S. living with HIV is unaware of his or her infection.
- More than one million people are living with HIV in the United States.
A powerful force in reducing HIV and AIDS in Lake and Mendocino Counties is MCHC Health Centers, the only local health organization providing ongoing medical treatment to HIV-infected patients. Unlike the early days of the AIDS epidemic, effective treatment, care and support services now exist for those infected with HIV, so people can live long, productive lives after they are diagnosed with the infection. And because so much more is known about how HIV is transmitted, people can effectively prevent the spread of HIV.
MCHC Health Centers has been offering HIV care for more than twenty years, funded by a federal Ryan White grant since 1995. In fact, some of the MCHC doctors and nurses who currently care for patients helped start the program at MCHC and were pioneers in the movement. Patients can receive HIV care at all three MCHC Health Centers sites: Hillside in Ukiah, Little Lake in Willits, and Lakeview in Lakeport.
One of the keys to effective care is medical case management, a benchmark of the MCHC Health Centers program. HIV primary care services include comprehensive medical and specialty care, as well as oral (dental) care and behavioral health services. Substance abuse services are also available, both onsite and through referrals to other local programs.
Since its inception, the HIV program has more than tripled the number of patients regularly cared for—more than 200 patients received treatment for HIV in 2014.
MCHC Health Centers is currently working to expand visibility about the program in an effort to increase linkage to care with other local providers and organizations, while reducing the fear and stigma.
Of the people receiving HIV care with us, 95 percent are on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), and 92 percent of our HIV-infected patients are virally suppressed, meaning the virus is no longer detectable in their blood they are unlikely to spread the infection to others. Ninety-four percent of our HIV-infected patients are fully engaged in care and return at least every six months to be monitored and cared for.