Texas HIV/AIDS Council To Implement New Treatment Model
The Texas-based Valley AIDS Council will begin using a new model of providing HIV/AIDS treatment in an effort to increase access to care and encourage self-sufficiency, the Valley Morning Star reports. Council officials believe the new model will provide more time and funds to care for certain HIV-positive people by evaluating all clients and placing them in one of four categories according to their level of health, adherence to safer-sex practices like condom use and willingness to manage their own treatment. Bob Smith, the council's executive director, said the new approach will allow clients to have "independence," adding, "We're saying that 'we'll meet your needs, based on your needs.'"
According to Fernando Garcia, the council's medical director, the model was developed based on a pattern some of the council's healthiest clients exhibit in which they were more independent from their physicians. "These are patients who know about their disease and take charge of it so their condition doesn't worsen," Garcia said. Officials said that the less frequent visits required by these clients would allow more resources to be dedicated to clients who need more intensive treatment. In addition, the council offers HIV/AIDS education programs for youth, women, people living with other conditions and those who have received a recent HIV-positive diagnosis, the Morning Star reports. According to Garcia, the model will not be successful without the educational programs. Officials estimate that the new model will reduce clinic costs by 25% and increase appointment access by 20%. The council has clinics in several locations across the state that serve about 1,500 clients, according to Smith. He added that the Harris County Hospital District, an agency in El Paso, Tex., and the Washington, D.C., health department have expressed interest in using the model (Mcever, Valley Morning Star, 1/31).