HIV care provider Vivent Health has opened a new state-of-the-art facility in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to offering HIV prevention, treatment and care, the 16,000-square-foot facility includes a pharmacy and food pantry and provides legal services, dental care, case management, housing assistance and other services all in one location.
“We know the Vivent Health HIV Medical Home model, which offers comprehensive, wraparound services and patient-centered care, is a proven powerful way to fight and ultimately end the HIV epidemic by delivering exceptional patient care and outcomes,” Mike Gifford, Vivent Health’s president and CEO, said in a statement from the nonprofit. “Defeating this virus has always been our singular goal; this new facility is a step toward achieving that here in Kansas City.”
A new #ViventHealth center is opening in Kansas City this November 1! The center will have the same expert HIV medical treatment, offer primary care, and more! Stay tuned for more news from https://t.co/hfJTAvH1S6#ThriveTogether #ViventHealth #KansasCity— Vivent Health (@ViventHealth) October 26, 2021
Vivent Health has been expanding across the country in recent years. The health network formed as a result of a merger of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Rocky Mountain CARES in Denver and St. Louis Effort for AIDS. After rebranding in early 2020 as Vivent Health, the company merged with AIDS Services of Austin. Earlier this year, it merged with Thrive Health Connection of Kansas City, Missouri.
The Kansas City facility is located at 4309 East 50th Terrace in the Shops on Blue Parkway. The facility is served by bus route 47 and thus is accessible by public transportation.
Vivent Health now operates 17 locations in Colorado, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin. Watch the company’s branding video below:
The new location will emphasis HIV prevention strategies, with prevention specialists trained to provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the daily prevention tablet for people at risk for HIV.
“This is the natural next step in our unfaltering commitment to meet the needs of our citizens impacted by HIV,” said Caroline Huffman, Vivent Health vice president of operations, who oversees the organization’s Kansas City efforts. “This new facility will help us better deliver the radical hospitality we are known for, resulting in longer, healthier lives for our clients.”
When Vivent Health announced its merger with the Kansas City HIV provider, it described the unique HIV needs of Missourians:
In recent years, Kansas City has seen an increase in the demand for services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. There are approximately 4,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Kansas City and an estimated 150 new HIV cases reported annually, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. In Kansas City, people of color, particularly African Americans and Latinos, are disproportionately affected and have some of the highest infection rates. At the end of 2018, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among Blacks/African Americans was 4.6 times as high as the rate among whites, and 2.1 times as high among Latinx individuals compared to whites.
Higher rates also means that PrEP services are in demand. Scientists estimate PrEP to be about 99% effective among men who have sex with men and 88% to 90% effective among heterosexual men and women (though researchers believe the latter number is likely higher). For more details, see “How Well Do U=U and PrEP Work? The CDC Updates Its Answers.”
In the United States, PrEP is available as the daily tablets Truvada and Descovy; both are manufactured by Gilead Sciences and consist of two meds. A generic version of Truvada is also available. To learn more, see “Cheaper Generic PrEP Now Available in the United States,” “What’s the Difference Between Truvada and Descovy for PrEP?”
The availability of lower-cost generics might actually be bad news for HIV prevention efforts because of a federal drug pricing law called 340B. For background, see “Generic PrEP Highlight How Even Low-Cost HIV Care Relies on High Drug Prices” and “PrEP Programs Face Devastating Loss of Funding for HIV Prevention.”
Did you know that a national program has been set up to deliver HIV prevention via mail at no cost? To learn more, read “‘Ready, Set, PrEP’ Offers HIV Prevention Meds by Mail.”