WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 4, 2013 — Thanks to a $4 million investment by the MAC AIDS Fund and a unique partnership with AIDS United, $1 million in initial grants have been awarded to seven organizations across the U.S. to help define and expand programs that help keep HIV-positive people in care and on treatment.
At a time where treatment has proven effective not only in prolonging the life of those infected with HIV, but in substantially reducing transmission of new infections, retention in care has proven critical to the continued fight against the disease.
"As a person living with HIV, I've always known treatment can make a huge difference in my own health, but recent research has made clear that early treatment can also play a serious role in stopping new transmissions," said Michael Kaplan, AIDS United President & CEO. Kaplan said that a study from the National Institutes of Health (HIV) called HPTN showed early treatment of HIV-positive people can reduce sexual transmission of HIV to uninfected partners by 96%.
Despite the significant promise early treatment holds for both people infected and for community prevention efforts, substantial social and structural barriers often cause HIV-positive people to drop out of care. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimate that only 41% of HIV-positive individuals in the United States are retained in care.
According to Kaplan, underserved populations — particularly those living in poverty — are at highest risk of dropping out of care.
"Over the next three years, our grantees will be developing innovative and intensive ways to work with PLWHA in their communities and ensure they are consistently retained in the life-saving care they need," said Kaplan.
"At this pivotal time in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the U.S., the MAC AIDS Fund's Retention in Care Initiative with AIDS United presents us with a unique opportunity to make a meaningful difference for the people who need it most," said Nancy Mahon, Global Executive Director of the MAC AIDS Fund.
"By supporting community-specific strategies to keep people in care, the Retention in Care Initiative helps advance two pillars of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: optimizing health outcomes for PLWHA and reducing new infections. By supporting programs that deal directly with the most marginalized, underserved people who are at the highest risk of infection, this partnership exemplifies our mission at the MAC AIDS Fund."
The first cohort of Retention in Care grantees are:
Christie's Place, San Diego, CA
To explicitly address trauma as a part of comprehensive retention services for women of color in San Diego, and working towards sustainability as the nation moves toward full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
CitiWide Harm Reduction Program, Bronx, NY
For a retention intervention for homeless and substance using individuals in the Bronx, who can access medical services, an in-house pharmacy and case management in a one stop shop.
Institute for Public Health Innovation/CommonHealth ACTION, Prince Georges County, MD
For a Community Health Worker model in an area of Maryland that is disproportionately affected by HIV that is highly replicable and working towards sustainable and reimbursable peer models as payment systems for services changes with implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
AIDS Alabama, Birmingham, AL
For a project to increase retention among a highly impoverished group of rural, African- American men and women in Alabama; the project includes tracking of the effects of Intimate Partner Violence on retention in care as well as a provider learning network and the use of new technology to track data.
The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
For an innovative program model utilizing a smart phone app and a virtual community to retain individuals in the most rural parts of Virginia.
The Open Door, Pittsburgh, PA
For a harm-reduction housing model for substance-abusing HIV-positive people in Pittsburgh, PA, that is highly replicable due to its low operational costs.
Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia, PA
For an intensive retention initiative targeted exclusively to transgendered individuals in Philadelphia, PA that includes a drop-in center where clients can receive wrap-around services.
About AIDS United
Born out of the merger of the National AIDS Fund and AIDS Action in late 2010, AIDS United's mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States. AIDS United combines strategic grantmaking and capacity-building with national advocacy and regional organizing to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. With a budget of over $15 million, AIDS United provided more than $7 million in grants last year supporting more than 400 AIDS organizations across the United States.
About MAC AIDS Fund
The MAC AIDS Fund, the heart and soul of MAC Cosmetics, was established in 1994 to support men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. MAF is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support to organizations working with underserved regions and populations. As the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical giver in the arena, MAF is committed to addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS by supporting diverse organizations around the world that provide a wide range of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. To date, MAF has raised $250 million (U.S.) exclusively through the sale of MAC's VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS. For more information visit www.macaidsfund.org .