The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a two-year, $411,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health to research new strategies aimed at increasing HIV testing and counseling in new immigrants to the United States.
Laura Glasman, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine in the Medical College's Center for AIDS Intervention Research, is the primary investigator of the grant. Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 20 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S., while representing about 16 percent of the population. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the HIV infection rate among Latinos in 2009 was nearly three times as high as that of whites. Factors accounting for the discrepancy include uncertain immigration status, high levels of stigma, and unawareness of risk, particularly in new immigrants who come from areas of low HIV prevalence.
Glasman will investigate peer-led strategies to engage recent Latino immigrant men in voluntary counseling and testing for HIV. The goal of these new strategies is to prevent further increases in HIV risk, and help identify HIV-infected individuals earlier.
The Center for AIDS Intervention Research at MCW is one of five HIV prevention research centers in the U.S. funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
HealthHIV surveys HIV and primary care providers
Rising HIV caseloads among overworked specialists and insufficient reimbursement for HIV services are key findings from the 2nd Annual HealthHIV State of HIV Primary Care survey.
Set against a landscape in which the federal government prepares to extend healthcare coverage to 32 million newly insured individuals (including an estimated 600,000-800,000 people living with HIV), the survey reveals a shifting landscape between the readiness of the HIV workforce and its ability to treat the growing number of people living with HIV, especially in primary care settings.
Among HIV treatment providers, two-thirds report an increase in their HIV caseloads and more than a third report inadequate reimbursement as a barrier to expanding their practices. As demand for HIV care providers continues to increase, new HIV care providers are scarce. Twenty-two percent of primary care providers cite reimbursement as a significant barrier to providing HIV services.
Other survey findings reveal that while systemic obstacles keep many primary care providers from treating HIV, out of necessity some have taken steps to begin offering HIV care. Based upon their responses, HealthHIV built a profile of the typical "HIV Primary Care Provider." She is female (58%), non-Hispanic (83%), white (68%), M.D. (58%), aged 50-59 years old (40%), living in an urban community (64%). Further, she is a family practice specialist (46%), practicing in the South (39%), in a community health center (36%).
HealthHIV is a national non-profit working with organizations, communities, and professionals to advance effective prevention, care, and support for people living with, or at risk for, HIV through education and training, capacity building, advocacy, and health services research and evaluation. See www.HealthHIV.org or www.NCHCMC.org .