LA County Takes Another Significant Step Toward
Reducing New HIV Infections and Maintaining Health for
Nearly 60,000 people in Los Angeles County live with HIV. The Board of Supervisors voted today to approve a motion by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis to expand a proven medical program that helps those living with HIV stay healthy and reduces transmission of HIV.
In an evaluation of the services known as Medical Care Coordination (MCC), MCC was found to significantly increase the likelihood that patients living with HIV would choose to receive regular medical treatment. Among the 1,204 County residents who enrolled, the proportion of patients who opted for continued regular medical treatment jumped from 52% to 84%.
“When people living with HIV get regular medical treatment, they live longer, healthier lives and are less likely to transmit the virus,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “The motion adopted today expands the program to people who have not had access to it before, benefiting not only those patients but the entire community by reducing transmission rates. The total number of patients directly affected by these services is relatively small, but the ripple effect is likely to be much more far-reaching.”
Supervisor Solis says, “I am very pleased by the Board’s action today to expand Medical Care Coordination services which have shown to improve patient retention in care and viral suppression among those living with HIV. Many of our most underserved and vulnerable residents, including in the Latino and African-American communities, will benefit from the expansion of these vital services.”
The motion directs the Department of Public Health to enter into temporary agreements with medical clinics to provide these services to a potential target audience of 8,000 people who have not previously had access to them. The contracts will allow HIV clinics to hire nurses and social workers to help those people with HIV who need extra support make their doctor’s appointments and take their HIV medicine correctly.
This is one of the first programs nationwide to use this approach to improve the health of people with HIV and keep them engaged in medical care.
Since joining the Board of Supervisors in December 2014, Supervisor Kuehl has championed better prevention and care for those at risk of or affected by HIV including expanding the availability of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, to uninsured and under-insured Angelenos to help them remain HIV negative.
Find the complete motion here.