By helping the homeless find and keep housing, Vivent Health is achieving very high HIV suppression rates.
HIV is common in the homeless, and challenging to treat. Because of their precarious living conditions, most are unable to maintain daily treatment to keep their viral levels suppressed. A story in The Colorado Sun by Jennifer Brown provides a detailed view of the incredible work of a non-profit clinic that has successfully improved the health of HIV-infected people in Denver.
Vivent Health provides medical care, housing assistance, and other services to help people living with HIV to help them manage their health. Many of their patients struggle with homelessness, which makes it difficult to stick to medication routines. Vivent created its own housing department two years ago to move people off the streets and into apartments. Since then, stable housing has significantly improved health outcomes.
HIV rates have been rising in Colorado recently after years of decline. Homeless patients often lose medications and supplies when swept from encampments. Vivent provides outreach to encampments to provide clean needles, test for HIV, and link people to care.
Vivent’s housing team has helped 65 people transition off the streets over the last two years. They work to find apartments and landlords who accept vouchers. Vivent also provides temporary housing in motels for homeless patients. Housing is key for patients to focus on health instead of survival. They have achieved a 93-96% viral suppression rate for housed patients.
Vivent also operates a food bank that allows people to shop for groceries as needed. Unlike many food shelves, people can come as often as needed during the week, without having to prove the size of their household.
Vivent’s services are funded by federal, state, and local programs. But instability in federal funding has pushed Vivent to link patients to more stable government housing vouchers. Stable housing and care from Vivent helps patients thrive instead of just surviving.
Read the full article here.