PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In observance of World AIDS Day (December 1) and as part of Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s long-standing commitment to prevention and reducing health disparities, the organization today announced it has awarded $418,120 to community organizations dedicated to HIV/AIDS care and prevention. Since 2001, Kaiser Permanente Southern California has awarded more than $3.5 million in Community Benefit HIV/AIDS grants.
“This funding will help other non-profit organizations identify HIV-positive patients sooner, provide HIV counseling to decrease risky behaviors, improve access to mobile dental care, expand addiction case management, promote health and well-being programs for homeless youth, and much more.”
“Kaiser Permanente is proud to provide funding to these organizations to continue the fight against HIV and support the much-needed work in the communities we serve,” said William Towner, MD, director, HIV Medical Care Program, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “This funding will help other non-profit organizations identify HIV-positive patients sooner, provide HIV counseling to decrease risky behaviors, improve access to mobile dental care, expand addiction case management, promote health and well-being programs for homeless youth, and much more.”
The 32 organizations in Southern California that were awarded grants in 2012 were chosen specifically for their approach to preventing new HIV infections through education; connecting HIV-positive patients with high quality care; and reducing disparities among minority populations.
The grants include the following:
- Bienestar Human Services in Los Angeles provides HIV testing, mental health, counseling, support groups, and well-being programs for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community. Bienestar received $15,000 for “Caminando Juntos” (Walking Together), a program that gives HIV-positive individuals the tools to express their feelings and boosts their self-esteem.
- Clinica Sierra Vista in Kern County provides specialized infectious disease and primary care services to HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C patients. Kaiser Permanente Southern California awarded the organization $25,000 for its “HIV Rapid Testing and Linkages to Care” program which promotes HIV testing, access to medical care, and counseling to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
- Desert AIDS Project in Coachella Valley was granted $25,000 for its “HIV Specialty Dental Clinic.” Good oral hygiene creates a stronger immune system and this is especially important to the health of people living with HIV/AIDS to prevent infections and ensure proper nutrition. A treatment plan is developed, including cleaning and oral hygiene education and restorative treatment such as fillings, crowns, and extractions when needed.
Kaiser Permanente Southern California is proud to provide access to investigational agents through a robust clinical trials program. This World AIDS Day, many of our clinical trial patients are celebrating another year of good health due to their participation in HIV clinical trials programs. Among them is 35-year old Jose, who is in a clinical trial examining a new formulation of tenofovir, a commonly used HIV medications which can cause kidney and bone problems in some patients. However, the new formulation of tenofovir has the potential to have fewer side effects. Jose contracted HIV seven years ago. Concerns about side effects fueled his resistance to take any medications, until this year. “I was just getting sick too much and I said ‘Let me test it out’. I am now taking one pill a day and I feel like I am helping the next generation and people who are not reacting to certain regimens. What I’m doing right now will eventually help others down the line.”
Kaiser Permanente Southern California also continues to advance medical knowledge with researchers at the Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif., utilizing electronic medical records and analyzing the overall adherence to prevention and screening guidelines. Scientific research is also conducted at various medical centers. At the Los Angeles Medical Center earlier this year, Dr. Towner looked at liver-related deaths for those with HIV and found that patients with HIV did have a higher risk of liver failure but that antiretroviral therapies did not increase the risk. Clinically, this is significant in light of the calls from both the World Health Organization and the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy to increase the number of people who take the medications.
Kaiser Permanente Southern California is a leader in caring for patients with HIV and AIDS. Our care teams have treated more than 60,000 people since the beginning of the pandemic and have reduced disparities among the current estimated 20,000 HIV-positive patients. Kaiser Permanente Southern California has an outstanding record of successful HIV clinical care outcomes:
- HIV mortality rates are significantly below the national average
- 88 percent of our members who need to be on antiretroviral therapy are, compared to 36 percent of HIV-positive patients in the general population
- 90 percent of HIV-positive patients are in HIV-specialty care within 90 days, compared to 62 percent in the general U.S. HIV-positive population.
This year, Kaiser Permanente challenged all health care providers nationwide to improve the health equity for people living with HIV by sharing a toolkit of clinical best practices, mentoring, training, and health IT expertise (kp.org/hivchallenge)
An estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in five is unaware of their infection and about 50,000 Americans are infected with HIV each year.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died.
About Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 3.5 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.