HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Highlights Landmark New Initiative To Help People Living With HIV/AIDS Overcome Barriers That Prevent Them From Staying In Care And On Treatment
WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the MAC AIDS Fund announced the Care for Life Initiative — a multi-year, public-private sector effort to address the intractable barriers that cause one in two people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. to fall out of care.
The effort was recognized by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during her speech at the Opening Session of the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. as an example of public-private partnerships that will bring us closer to achieving the goal of an AIDS-free generation.
The $4.5 million Care for Life Initiative will initially encompass three arms:
- A $4 million partnership with AIDS United over the next three years will create an innovation fund for both national and regional efforts to improve retention in care and treatment adherence. The exact geographic focuses will be determined based on need and capacity of the local providers to address that need, and will involve an open call for proposals from organizations around the country. The effort will include a rigorous evaluation component performed by Dr. David Holtgrave of John Hopkins University to track metrics and define best practices in the retention in care landscape in the U.S.
- In partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the MAC AIDS Fund will support a pilot launch of UCARE4LIFE, an evidence-based program which will utilize mobile texting to improve retention in care and medication adherence. This two-year project will focus on Southern states, where the epidemic is rising fast among youth. It consists of developing a message library for delivering timely phone text notifications to HIV-positive individuals of racial and ethnic minorities, both youths and adults, in English and Spanish, regarding medical appointment reminders and taking medications as prescribed. Once established, patients who sign up for UCARE4LIFE will receive short message service (SMS) updates with timely, relevant information to help them improve and manage their health.
- To ensure that the global provider community, along with the people living with HIV involved in these programs, fully leverage global lessons on expanding treatment access and retaining people in HIV care, the MAC AIDS Fund will work with HHS and PEPFAR to convene a meeting of international leaders in the Fall of 2012. This forum will explore the lessons learned through PEPFAR that can be applied to the U.S. and will be compiled in a report for use as a resource on best practices in treatment access and retention.
“Public-private partnerships play a vital role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This initiative, which addresses the barriers affecting people’s ability to remain in care and on treatment, will help more individuals benefit from life-saving treatments, reduce new infections and move us closer to the Obama Administration’s goal of an AIDS-free generation,” stated Secretary Sebelius.
Focused in the U.S., the Care for Life Initiative will support programs that effectively address the many barriers individuals face entering and staying in HIV/AIDS care. These include local and community-relevant approaches like patient navigation, and programs that address HIV/AIDS care needs in the context of other survival-based services like housing, food, and substance abuse and mental health services.
“The Care for Life Initiative is aimed at supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. We cannot end the epidemic without break-through approaches that support and empower those living with HIV/AIDS to stay connected to the care and life-saving treatment they deserve,” says Nancy Mahon, Global Executive Director of the MAC AIDS Fund.
For many, the findings of the landmark HPTN 052 study, showing that the initiation of antiretroviral therapy reduces the transmission risk to sexual partners of people living with HIV/AIDS, underscore the responsibility of the community to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS are directed to care and receive ongoing treatment. The reality, however, is that far too many societal and structural barriers still prevent individuals from accessing and staying in HIV/AIDS care and treatment.
“Helping to raise collective consciousness around HIV/AIDS is engrained in MAC’s culture and is what our artists do every day when they help raise money for the MAC AIDS Fund through the sales of our VIVA GLAM products. The MAC AIDS Fund is the heart and soul of our company and grant initiatives like these are a testament to the VIVA GLAM work and the power of consumer activism,” said John Demsey, Chairman, MAC AIDS Fund and Group President, Estee Lauder Companies.
ABOUT THE MAC AIDS FUND
The MAC AIDS Fund, the heart and soul of MAC Cosmetics, was established in 1994 to support men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. MAF is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support to organizations working with underserved regions and populations. As the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical giver in the arena, MAF is committed to addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS by supporting diverse organizations around the world that provide a wide range of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. To date, MAF has raised $250 million (U.S.) exclusively through the sale of MAC’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS. For more information visit www.macaidsfund.org.
SOURCE MAC AIDS Fund