Access to Care Initiative

The AIDS United Access to Care (A2C) initiative removes barriers to facilitate access to care and supportive services for thousands of low-income, marginalized people living with HIV. The initiative leverages public-private partnerships between the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and 14 private funders. A2C grantees focus on innovative, evidence-based, collaborative programs and activities that create tangible results and ultimately help advance vulnerable communities along the care continuum.

Expanding access to high-quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination is a critical part of the end of the AIDS epidemic.


HIGH IMPACT Across Access2Care cohort participants . . .

Among those with 12-month data . . .

. . . far exceeding national averages.

All projects supported by Access to Care have

seen increases in mean CD4

from baseline to 12 months.

Across all SIF projects, we see an increase in

percent suppressed viral load

among participants with data available at

baseline and 12 months.


Dr. Vignetta Charles, Senior Vice President at AIDS United and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), participated in a conversation with HHS Secretary Burwell and other leading experts on key developments and priorities in HIV. The panel was part of the White House’s 2014 World AIDS Day event.

A2C grantee Christie’s Place was highlighted in the White House’s Update on Efforts to Address the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities report. Christie’s Place provides trauma-informed care and universal screening for all women to identify traumarelated barriers to engaging in HIV care.


As federal, state, and local programs work to leverage the promise of the Affordable Care Act for better health outcomes, using approaches that facilitate greater access to affordable, quality HIV care and treatment like Peer Navigators is essential. To share A2C lessons learned and arm community-based organizations with these best practices, AIDS United released the Best Practices for Integrating Peer Navigators into HIV Models of Care guide.

From Disengagement to Engagement

A2C grantee ActionAIDS in Philadelphia began working with a client who suffered a long history of homelessness, disengagement from medical care, and ongoing involvement with the corrections system. “The ability to understand the true history and needs of our clients requires time, patience, and trust,” explains Program Coordinator Cody J. Poerio.

Through intensive support from the ActionAIDS Care Coach program, this client began attending his medical appointments consistently and, as a result, his health improved dramatically and his viral load is now undetectable. He has been able to address his legal issues and is currently on the path to stable housing for the first time in many years.

“This program has afforded us the opportunity to work longer with our clients, helping us to provide consistent, client-centered, and trauma-informed support,” explains Poerio.

The result? Improved health outcomes.



Retention in Care

The AIDS United Retention in Care (RiC) initiative, done in partnership with the M·A·C AIDS Fund, focuses on—and rigorously evaluates—emerging and promising strategies and models of care. The initiative uses a national evaluation framework that works hand-in-hand with local evaluators to document the ability of programs to improve individual health, affect systems change, and measure cost effectiveness.

RiC grantees focus on communities that often experience significant barriers to improved health outcomes. The grantees implement programs to address a multitude of barriers to retention in care, addressing one of the largest drop-off points along the HIV care continuum.

If we are to achieve the promise to end AIDS and stop new infections then expanding access to and retention in care for people living with HIV is crucial. RiC is making that possible.


Sharing lessons learned and replicating proven, effective models of care represent important ways to curtail this epidemic and is critical to making the promise a reality.



Retaining Clients, Replicating Care Models

The Open Door, Inc. uses a harm-reduction model to provide housing and related services to improve the health of high-risk, chronically homeless people living with HIV. One unique aspect of The Open Door’s work is their representative payee service, meaning they offer to manage clients’ social security/employer benefits free of charge to clients who are living with HIV and homeless or at risk for homelessness.

The representative payee service helps secure client housing by managing client income, paying their rent and bills, providing clients with their requested amount in spending, and helping them save money. This has been found to reduce stress and chaos in their client lives and allows them to prioritize medical care and treatment.

As part of their RiC grant, The Open Door has funded two sub-grantees to replicate their harm reduction housing model. The Ursuline HIV/AIDS Ministry in Youngstown, OH, and Prevention Point Philadelphia, in Philadelphia, PA were the recipients of these $20,000 awards. Technical assistance and training activities are underway, including site visits, monthly structured conference calls, weekly informal check-ins, and support on demand.

To help spread this innovative model even further, AIDS United collaborated with The Open Door to create Housing Is HealthCare H2 Toolkit based on their innovative model. The toolkit includes valuable resources for organizations hoping to start or enhance their own housing-first, harmreduction approach to effectively serve people who are chronically homeless and living with HIV/AIDS.

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