A comprehensive care program used in New York City improves HIV-positive people’s retention in care and their rate of viral suppression, in particular among the most vulnerable individuals, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers studied the effects of New York’s Ryan White Part A HIV Care Coordination Program, which was launched in 2009. They studied 3,641 people living with the virus who were either newly diagnosed or who had demonstrated poor engagement in care in the past.

The program provides staff who can accompany clients on clinic visits to provide support and who can also track down clients after they miss an appointment. Other program services include case management, a multi-disciplinary care team, support with adherence to medications, and information structured to promote health.

Ninety-two percent of the participants in the study were black or Latino. At the study’s outset, 74 percent of the participants were in care, 14 percent were out of care (defined as not having had a CD4 and viral load test during the previous six months), and 13 percent were newly diagnosed (defined as having tested positive during the previous year).

The participants were followed for one year. During that time, retention in care increased from 74 percent to 91 percent among the previously diagnosed participants. Their rate of virologic suppression increased from 32 to 51 percent during that time. Those who had been out of care for six months or more showed the greatest improvements.

Among the newly diagnosed participants, 91 percent were retained in care and 66 percent had a suppressed viral load after a year in the program.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.