The Undetectables—a superhero-themed, incentive-based program to help people with HIV achieve and maintain viral suppression—is expanding to seven health centers across New York City starting January 2017.
The expansion arrives via the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which awarded more than $1.5 million in contracts to seven agencies to implement the program. Those partners are:
- AIDS Service Center of New York City
- Brightpoint Health
- Community Healthcare Network
- Harlem United
- Housing Works Community Healthcare
- William F. Ryan Community Health Center
- Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.
According to a Housing Works press release, it’s estimated that expanding the program to the seven new health centers will reach more than 1,500 people with HIV in its first year.
The press release explains the importance of viral suppression:
Evidence shows that by adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens, people with HIV may become virally suppressed, which means that the amount of HIV in the blood is low enough that the risk of HIV transmission becomes negligible to nonexistent. Through The Undetectables’ integrated model of care, participants engage in primary care, case management, and ART adherence supports such as client-centered case conferencing, behavioral health assessments and referrals, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication reminders, directly observed therapy, and financial incentives for achieving viral suppression.
The Undetectables’ model, which was pioneered by Housing Works, has been found to significantly increase rates of viral suppression among people with HIV who face the greatest barriers to ART adherence, including poverty, homelessness, substance use and mental health issues, engagement in sex work, and stigma connected to HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
To read the Undetectables comics and join the team, visit LiveUndetectable.org.