The plan, based on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ plan Ending the HIV Epidemic, provides a pathway for improved health of individuals living in Prince George’s County who are infected or affected by HIV by developing a comprehensive integrated system of care and support, which will also require addressing stigma, housing, poverty and other social determinants of health.
- Reduce new HIV infections by 75% in five years and 90% in 10 years
- Increase access to care and improve health outcomes for people with HIV. Increase the percentage of persons with diagnosed HIV infection who receive HIV care.
- Reduce disparities and inequities (primarily among young Black MSM)
- Achieve a more coordinated local response to HIV/AIDS. Ensure that the local Ob/GYN, primary care, and infectious disease and other providers make HIV testing routine.
- Create, expand and enhance effective community organizations and institutions to provide HIV/STI and support services. example: housing, stigma, poverty, and unemployment.
- Build and expand programs for PrEP and behavioral health services throughout Prince George’s County.
- Build workforce capacity (providers, community health workers, consumers)
Diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible after infection.
Treat the infection rapidly and effectively to achieve sustained viral suppression.
Prevent people at risk from getting HIV using proven prevention tools, including PrEP, a medication that can prevent HIV infections.
Respond rapidly to detect and respond to growing HIV clusters and prevent new HIV infections.
Prince George’s County will continue to make HIV testing services available to the public in a variety of venues. Many individuals at the highest risk for being HIV-positive and unaware of their status are unlikely to be engaged in the health care system and may not be reached by routine HIV testing in clinical settings. For these individuals, we will:
- enhance our targeted community-based HIV testing strategy to reach clients and ensure the delivery of test results;
- continue to support routine HIV screening and targeted testing in high prevalence health care and non-health care settings
The county will develop and fund more grassroots community organizations’ capacity to address HIV and provide testing in field settings. Additionally, the county will conduct and support health communication, public information, and social marketing activities to increase knowledge of the importance of HIV testing and awareness of the availability of HIV testing, care, and treatment services.
Our plan will develop ways in which individuals will not have to give up their primary care doctor. Services will explore health insurance, including processes for accelerated approval to facilitate a swift initiation of care, and same-day access to a medical provider after diagnosis, including taxi vouchers from testing sites to the clinic. The same-day medical appointments include information and education about HIV, risk-reduction, sexual health and the benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Interventions will include pre-approved treatment and may also provide five-day ART starter packs while insurance benefits are arranged. Patients will be observed while taking their first dose and are later followed up with a call and given ongoing counseling and psychosocial support.
Linkage-to-care is another critical part of our treatment strategy. Linkage-to-care staff will continue to maintain contact with newly identified HIV positive individuals referred into Ryan White and other funded agency programs to ensure clients attend at least two clinical visits prior to closing the client’s case. Additionally, when new HIV-positive individuals through their testing activities, they will continue to be required to follow up with the client and/or care provider to verify and document they have attended their first HIV medical appointment. Once a client has been referred to a Ryan White agency or another provider, the client engagement and treatment adherence strategies will be implemented.
PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a pill that reduces the risk of getting HIV when taken as prescribed. Less than 25% of the estimated more than 1 million Americans who could benefit from PrEP are using this prevention medication. Working with our community partners and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Department will be implementing strategies to increase access to and use of PrEP.
One of the ways to increase the availability of PrEP to residents is training our health care providers, our social services agencies programs and other identified, relevant community organizations on prescribing and managing PrEP.
Outreach and education about PrEP is very important so people at highest risk of HIV infection understand what PrEP is, how it works and where to get it. Our PrEP education and outreach campaigns for the public, health care providers and other community resources providers will combat stigma associated with PrEP use, as well as the stigma associated with HIV.
Preventing new HIV diagnoses also involves engaging with grassroots organizations, the business community, and social club networks to discuss ways to provide education and information to club patrons, including HIV literature, condoms, and PrEP information.
Cutting-edge HIV prevention technologies and strategies now allow the Health Department, with our partners at CDC, identify where HIV prevention and treatment services are most urgently needed.
Real-time response systems are key to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States. While CDC has been working to increase response capacity nationwide, not all areas have the resources to identify, investigate, and respond to potential HIV outbreaks.
Prince George’s County will assess and address gaps in staffing, expertise, and data management systems that prevent states and local areas from being able to fully investigate and respond to increases in HIV transmission and outbreaks — and to take HIV prevention and treatment resources to where they are needed quickly.