Public health officials can assist poor HIV populations to improve outcomes
CDC lists Maryland as an AIDS hotspot
Maryland, where Johns Hopkins University is located, is in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) top 10 states/dependent areas for AIDS diagnoses. In 2010, there were 1,259 new cases reported and a total of 37,467 cumulative diagnoses since the origin of the epidemic.
For the study, health officials observed the university's HIV clinic in east Baltimore, where employees also helped homeless patients find places to live or provided bus fare to get to their next scheduled appointment. The study's investigators found that such assistance increased the likelihood of individuals - who contracted the virus in their 20s - living into their early 70s.
"Just like over time we have developed medications that are easier to take, have fewer toxicities and are more effective, I think we've done exactly the same things in our ability to deliver quality care to this particular population," said Richard Moore, M.D., the study's lead author, quoted by Reuters.
Ryan White CARE Act works to improve access to care
Moore also applauds the work of the Ryan White CARE Act (RWCA). The federal program provides HIV-associated medical services in the U.S. for individuals who don't have sufficient healthcare coverage or the financial resources for managing the condition, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It works specifically with cities, states and local community-based organizations to help more than 500,000 HIV-positive patients each year get the care they need to control symptoms and slow the progression of AIDS.
The RWCA was renewed in 2009 by President Barack Obama and will be due for reauthorization by Congress in 2013.