Throughout the Pandemic, NYC Health + Hospitals Helped New Yorkers With HIV Remain in Care, Fight Off COVID Illness
As the State's largest provider of HIV primary care, the health system treats almost 15,000 patients with HIV/AIDS
Dec 01, 2021
In recognition of World AIDS Day, NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that the health system’s efforts to keep New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic helped patients maintain high levels of viral load suppression and achieve high levels of COVID-19 vaccination to prevent illness. People with HIV/AIDS have a higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. With nearly 15,000 New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS under its care, the health system’s HIV clinics across the city offered uninterrupted access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and routine care through virtual care appointments, medication delivery services, 90-day ART supply, and special clinic-based outreach programs that connected New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS to COVID-19 vaccines and other resources.
“NYC Health + Hospitals has been a leader in HIV/AIDS care since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “While we are very close to ending the epidemic in New York City, there is still need for a continuum of care – from prevention services such as PrEP to PEP, to daily antiretroviral therapy. Our health system is an essential part of making HIV/AIDS a thing of the past.”
“Through the pandemic our primary goal was to keep our patients with HIV in care and connected to medications and resources that would keep them healthy,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer Nichola Davis, MD. “Despite the numerous barriers that the pandemic created, the data show that our patients remained on their medications and that we were successful in keeping them in care.”
Of the thousands of people with HIV engaged in primary care across NYC Health + Hospitals over the past 12-months, 97.3 percent were on antiretroviral therapy and 86.6 percent were virally suppressed. Additionally, the proportion of patients receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine through October 2021 is on average 68.1 percent across all HIV clinics; NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is the highest with 79.1 percent, and another five facilities have greater than 70 percent of their HIV clinic populations receiving at least one dose.
HIV prevention remains a key focus of NYC Health + Hospitals’ efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are crucial options to strengthen sexual health and wellbeing while reducing risk for HIV infection. PrEP and PEP services can be found at health system facilities and are accessible to all individuals at low or no cost regardless of insurance or immigration status. Efforts to expand access to HIV prevention include incorporating PrEP into Primary Care and Women’s Health clinics.
NYC Health + Hospital HIV/AIDS services include:
- HIV Testing – Fast, easy, confidential. Tests are available at all public hospitals and community health centers in the five boroughs.
- HIV Prevention – The health system offers HIV prevention services and access to medications that can be used to prevent HIV transmission.
- PEP, an emergency medication taken after HIV exposure, is available at each of our 11 public hospitals.
- PrEP services, medication taken before HIV exposure, are available at all 17 HIV clinics and from many primary care and women’s health providers across the system. PrEP services are available regardless of insurance or immigration status.
- Access to Care – NYC Health + Hospitals facilities have a seamless system to immediately link people to continuous, team-based and coordinated quality care when they learn they are infected with HIV. People with an HIV diagnosis receive antiretroviral treatment and self-management health education to help them be healthier, live longer and prevent transmission.
- Expert HIV/AIDS Providers – NYC Health + Hospitals’ health insurance plan, MetroPlusHealth, one of the top-ranked health plans in New York City for almost 10 years, has the state’s largest HIV Special Needs Plan that provides comprehensive and targeted medical and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Learn more about MetroPlusHealth.
For more information on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention offered at NYC Health + Hospitals, visit /services/hivaids-care/ or call 844-NYC-4NYC.