America’s healthcare system is by no means perfect—there are issues with access, quality and cost. Despite being one of the leading countries in the world in healthcare spending, our health outcomes don’t reflect that. And that’s especially true for those living with HIV.
To address the unique healthcare needs of people living with HIV, Vivent Health , formerly known as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, has developed the HIV Medical Home care model. It encompasses medical, dental, mental healthcare, and even legal aid and rent assistance—all in one place.
Mike Gifford is the president and CEO of Vivent Health. He explains the importance of integrating social wellness and health services.
“Our healthcare systems are letting down people with HIV. They’re not supporting people with HIV because they’re not recognizing all of those social determinants of health that go into helping people with HIV live that long and healthy life,” says Gifford.
Vivent Health patients and clients live longer, healthier lives because the medical home model of care works; 96% of patients have an undetectable viral load, which means the virus cannot be transmitted. Source: Vivent Health. View more images at wuwm.com.
Gifford says African Americans and members of the Hispanic Latino community make up as much as 65% of HIV infections across Wisconsin, even though they make up only 12% of the population. There’s no doubt that issues of racial equity, lack of access to healthcare, and social barriers all fuel the HIV epidemic. Overall, Gifford says we’ve made little progress in stigma surrounding the disease.
“The sad reality is [that] 40 years after HIV was first discovered … one in four Americans still think they can get HIV by sharing a cup from somebody who was HIV positive. That just tells me that we’ve got this core of stigma that we still have to address in this country.”
Gifford says the most important outcome and goal of the organization is getting patients with HIV to be able to live like any other healthy person. “This is a model of care that has been designed and redesigned each and every year to meet the needs of HIV patients. So, it’s great outcomes at 96% undetectable viral load.”
Read the entire article or listen to the story (13:20) at wuwm.com .