More than half of Georgians with HIV are not currently in treatment, health officials say. A Senate bill aims to bring thousands more of...

More than half of Georgians with HIV are not currently in treatment, health officials say.

A Senate bill aims to bring thousands more of these patients into care.

If enacted, SB 342 would allow the state’s Department of Public Health to alert a physician of a patient’s HIV or AIDS status.

DPH-Logo-Center-HeightHIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Treatments now available can help keep an infection from developing into AIDS, or can help prolong the lives of people who have already developed AIDS.

Under the bill, when someone with HIV arrives for care at a facility, and their medical data show that the individual has not had a regular blood test, Public Health would send a message to the patient’s health care provider about that out-of-care status.

The doctor would then encourage the patient to return to treatment, which includes taking a combination of prescription drugs to suppress their viral load. Antiretroviral therapy doesn’t cure HIV, but stops it from reproducing itself and spreading.

Georgia has a high HIV rate, especially in the metro Atlanta area. “Less than 40 percent in Georgia are virally suppressed,’’ Dr. Patrick O’Neal, director of health protection at Public Health, told GHN recently.

SB 342, sponsored by Sen. Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge), was approved unanimously by the Senate, and now is up for consideration in the House. O’Neal said it would allow the state to set up a pilot program, which is federally funded, at Grady Health System, Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness, and Mercy Care, a clinic for the uninsured in Atlanta.

The state’s program would be patterned after a similar one in Louisiana.

A Louisiana official said that as of Feb. 7, there were 1,322 individuals living with HIV identified through a program (called LaPHIE) who had not received medical care in 12 months or greater.

As a result of LaPHIE, from 2009 to 2012, 69 percent of people identified as out of care were linked to care within 90 days and 81 percent were linked to care within 12 months, said Dr. DeAnn Gruber, administrative director of the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV program.

HIV patients in treatment typically would have their viral load tested twice in 14 months.

Patients taking the drug therapy not only see their health improve, and also are much less likely to transmit the disease.

O’Neal said people drop out of HIV treatment for many reasons, including stigma surrounding the disease, mental health or substance abuse problems, and poverty.

Advocates for patients are backing the effort to get people into treatment.

Jeff Graham of Georgia Equality said advocates and providers have been involved in the process of the bill’s creation.

“We received input from the people most directly impacted by the change in law,’’ Graham said. “We support the language as long as there are no changes.’’

O’Neal said Public Health’s goal is to take the program statewide.

He said people who are uninsured can enter the ADAP program, which is a government drug assistance program for HIV-infected people.


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Andy Miller

Andy Miller is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News

  • RODA

    March 26, 2014 #7 Author

    Hi, I work in a communication company I want to share my testimony to the world, my name is roda, i am from united kingdom in belfast north ireland, I was a stripper in a club I got effected with HIV due to the nature of my job, In april 15 2013 i was tested positive to HIV, This is not design to convince you but its just a personal health experience . I never taught doctor lawcy could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his healing herb spell, i have tried almost everything but I couldn’t find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, i always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day i was just browsing on the internet when i came across a great post of !Michelle! who truly said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week through the help of this great powerful healing spell doctor ,I wonder why he is called the great papa lawcy, i never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and so i did all the things he asked me to do,He ask me to buy some herbs and which I did for my cure,only to see that at the very day which he said i will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and i becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so i went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said i am HIV negative, i am very amazed and happy about the healing doctor lawcy gave to me from the ancient part of africa, you can email him now for your own healing too on his email: drlawcyspellhome@gmail.com……..

    Reply

  • Dyrdek Rob

    May 27, 2014 #8 Author

    its a pleasure for me to write this testimony about this wonderful thing that happened to me last week on how I got my HIV aids cured, I have been reading so-many post of some people who were cured of HIV, but I never believed them, I was hurt and depressed so I was too curious and wanted to try dr.Ariba then I contacted him on his email on dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com, when I contact him, he assured me 100% that he will heal me, I pleaded with him to help me out, its a great success that he healed just as he promised, he told me that in three days time that I should go and check on my HIV status, I was floored that when I went to the hospital to check of my status that I was HIV negative, I never thought possible that dr.Ariba can do miracles, I never really believed in magic but I played along with a little hope and and faith and after everything but dr ARIBA changed my life and made me a true believer you can contact him on dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com, or draribaspelltemple@gmail.com so he can help you out.

    Reply

  • Dyrdek Rob

    May 27, 2014 #9 Author

    its a pleasure for me to write this testimony about this wonderful thing that happened to me last week on how I got my HIV aids cured, I have been reading so-many post of some people who were cured of HIV, but I never believed them, I was hurt and depressed so I was too curious and wanted to try dr.Ariba then I contacted him on his email on dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com, when I contact him, he assured me 100% that he will heal me, I pleaded with him to help me out, its a great success that he healed just as he promised, he told me that in three days time that I should go and check on my HIV status, I was floored that when I went to the hospital to check of my status that I was HIV negative, I never thought possible that dr.Ariba can do miracles, I never really believed in magic but I played along with a little hope and and faith and after everything but dr ARIBA changed my life and made me a true believer you can contact him on dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com, or draribaspelltemple@gmail.com so he can help you out.
    ….

    Reply

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