New City-Wide Partnership Serves 3600 HIV-Positive Individuals in First Year

Collaboration is part of a citywide plan to ensure patients with HIV receive care and to reduce the number of new HIV transmissions.

A new partnership between the Chicago Department of Health (CDPH), the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and Howard Brown Health has provided treatment services to 3600 individuals with HIV in the first year.

The collaboration was proposed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during his 2016 budget address, according to the Associated Press.

“This is an important milestone that demonstrates how our new partnerships are not only effective and efficient, but exceed our goal of individuals served,” Major Emanuel told Chicago Pride. “We are treating more Chicagoans than ever with HIV primary care that allows them to live their best lives.”

Last March, UIC and Howard Brown Health began managing primary care clinics in Englewood and Uptown as part of the partnership. Both organizations increased services, cut spending, and invested savings into expanding care.

“Our Uptown clinic allows us to provide general care as well as specialized HIV care to patients right where they live,” Dr Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at the UIC, told Chicago Pride. “Our mission is to provide health care to all by minimizing barriers to receiving care, including transportation, which is why we are so proud that this clinic has exceeded our expectations in terms of the number of people served in the Uptown area.”

Each clinic offers early intervention services to ensure patients are quickly placed in care, mental health, and medical case management services. They also offer general check-ups, and help patients monitor their medication to reduce viral loads and ultimately reach viral suppression.

Although there has been a steady decline over the past decade in new cases of HIV in Chicago,

Englewood and Uptown have some of the city’s highest diagnosis rates, according to the AP. Furthermore, Uptown has one of the highest rates of people living with HIV.

“Primary care ensures a better quality of life for people living with HIV and Howard Brown Health is proud to serve those who need it the most in Englewood,” David Ernesto Munar, president and CEO of Howard Brown Health, told Chicago Pride. “We are especially proud to exceed our service goals and look forward to continuing this work to ensure the residents of Englewood receive quality care.”

The CDC estimates that more than 1.2 million individuals in the United States are living with HIV, of whom, 1 in 8 are unaware of their positive status.

“Chicago is working together to end the HIV epidemic,” Julie Morita, CDPH commissioner, told Chicago Pride. “This is a great example of the power of collaboration. We are able to quadruple the number of residents receiving services, helping more people living with HIV have access to the care they need to live long, healthy lives.”